THE FAMILY

Rok Biček / 106’ / 2017 / Eslovenia, Austria

Direction: Rok Biček
Production: Rok Biček, Erna Gorše Biček​
Editing: Rok Biček, Yulia Roschina
Cinematography: Rok Biček
Sound: Julij Zornik

Matej is born into a family of people with special needs in a God-forsaken village in a God-forsaken land, but is himself so one of a kind – neither different nor normal – that he seems to have completely escaped the pressures of his environment. Fate, nevertheless, catches up with him as he and his girlfriend have a daughter and their relationship collapses soon after. The custody battle ensues and is becoming ever nastier until Matej opts for a radical exit out of the vicious circle, both of family and life itself.

 

The Family is a piece of cinéma vérité that covers a period of a whole decade, one that seeks feelings rather than sensationalism. A film without a screenplay, but with a multitude of screenwriters, both human and nonhuman.

ROK BIČEK. Already as a student, Biček’s work revealed a rare confidence, backed up by a clear esthetic favoring one shot sequences, specific color schemes and dramatic subjects narrated in an almost low-key, off-hand, but always controlled style. Like the filmmakers who inspired him, such as Michael Haneke, Christian Mungiu and Andrey Zvyagintsev, Biček plays with the potential danger lurking in small, everyday details. A gesture, a glance or the wrong word can have the potential to spark a fire. His graduation short Duck Hunting (2010) was instantly acquired by ARTE. Shot in the faded colors of autumnal Slovenian wetlands, two sons pick up their father from jail, taking him on a duck hunt that quickly turns into a Greek tragedy. Shot with laser-like precision and actors unafraid to explore emotional connections, Class Enemy (2013) is his confident feature debut that has been premiered and awarded at 28th Venice International Film Critics’ Week and later released in France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Slovenia. Inspired by a suicide and a student revolt during his own school days, Biček uses long takes and mostly non-professional actors to convey the drama that unfolds in the classroom when a girl commits suicide after coincidentally having received an icy rebuke from the new German teacher, played by Slovenia’s leading actor Igor Samobor. The Familyis his second film.

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