Mother's obsessive love exposed in Romanian movie at Berlin

BERLIN Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:02pm IST

Actress Luminita Gheorghiu addresses a news conference to promote the movie ''Pozitia Copilului'' (Child's Pose) at the 63rd Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 11, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Actress Luminita Gheorghiu addresses a news conference to promote the movie ''Pozitia Copilului'' (Child's Pose) at the 63rd Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

BERLIN (Reuters) - Actress Luminita Gheorghiu plays a domineering mother trying to save her son from jail in "Child's Pose", a stark family drama from Romania competing in this year's Berlin film festival.

The movie, directed by Calin Peter Netzer, shines an unforgiving light on the casual corruption and flashy materialism of post-communist Romania's upper middle class which expects to be able to buy itself out of any difficulty.

Netzer belongs to a group of young Romanian directors who have emerged since the death in 1989 of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu who had controlled the arts with an iron hand.

With its black humour, social satire and a remorseless focus on its protagonists' neuroses, the film stands firmly in the tradition of Romanian new wave cinema that has wowed Western audiences over the past decade.

But Gheorghiu said the film's theme is universal, not local.

"I don't think this is a problem specific to Romania. There are mothers like this everywhere ... who are victims of their unconditional love for their child," she told a news conference after the film's world premiere on Monday.

Gheorghiu's character Cornelia hopes to win back the love of her son Barbu by using her social connections and splashing cash around liberally after he accidentally knocks down and kills a boy while speeding along a road outside Bucharest.

Barbu, 30, traumatised by the accident, faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted but he is also desperate to escape a mother who has always tried to run his life and refuses to let him grow up.

Cornelia, 60, always immaculately turned out in designer outfits and jewellery, lives in a plush villa in Bucharest where the bookshelves are lined with unread works by, among others, Romanian-born Nobel literature laureate Herta Mueller.

BUYING OFF PEOPLE

Cornelia's imperious attitude to the police, her arrogant disdain for Barbu's girlfriend, and her awkward attempt to buy off the poor family of the dead boy provide an unflattering insight into the attitudes of Romania's nouveau riche.

"People from this social class are perhaps more likely to suffer from this kind of almost pathological relationship between a mother and her children than the lower social strata," said Netzer, who spent part of his youth in Germany.

But Cornelia's blindness to her own selfishness is also both comic and tragic. In the emotional culmination of the film, during a visit to the humble village home of the dead boy's parents to pay her condolences, she ends up speaking obsessively about her own son as though he were the one who had died.

Netzer said the film's title "Child's Pose" comes from a yoga position, a detail that was edited out of the film, and refers to Cornelia's inability to let her son break free.

"Child's Pose" is one of 19 films in this year's competition at the 11-day Berlinale, the first major European film festival of the year.

Netzer is best known for "Medal of Honour", an ironic movie about a pensioner who erroneously receives an award for his "heroic" actions in World War Two.

(Reporting by Gareth Jones, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Cinema

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Movie Review

Movie Review

Farah Khan brings back SRK, self-deprecating jokes, six-pack abs and lots of bling.  Full Article 

La Renta's Funeral

La Renta's Funeral

Designer Oscar de la Renta's funeral to be private New York affair.  Full Article 

Stratospheric Career

Stratospheric Career

Matthew McConaughey enjoying his 'Interstellar' career heights.  Full Article 

Horror Role

Horror Role

From 'Bates Motel' to 'Ouija,' Olivia Cooke finds breakout in horror.  Full Article 

Debut Tweet

Debut Tweet

Britain's Queen Elizabeth sends her first tweet.  Full Article 

Job Hunting

Job Hunting

Rebekah Brooks in New York 'explores' job opportunities.  Full Article 

"John Wick"

"John Wick"

Actor Keanu Reeves returns to the dark side in 'John Wick'.  Full Article 

For A Cause

For A Cause

Elton John joins with U.S. agencies on new AIDS programme.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage