RELEASE DATE: 2017-11-07
RUNNING TIME: 1h34min
DIRECTOR: Olmo Omerzu
A husband and wife set sail across the ocean, leaving their two children to explore the freedom of being home alone. The boat goes under, and so does the family. A dog, stuck on a desert island, is their only hope.
Olmo Omerzu was born on November 24, 1984 in Ljubljana. At the age of thirteen, Omerzu directed his first short feature film called Almir (1998), which was produced by RTV Slovenia. It is a story about a boy, a war refugee from Bosnia, who's adopted by a Slovenian family which turns out to be of vampire descent. Almir was shown at the Festival of Slovenian Film in Portoroz.
In Family Film I play with the idea of alienation within the family unit, and I also investigate ways of 'reassembling' the family. I am interested in what happens when we remove the figures of the king and queen from the 'family game of chess': which family members become the main actors? How are the roles divided? How is responsibility transferred to others within the family?
In order to discover the role that the family plays in today's society and which values it represents, I dismantle and reconstruct the family into various possible functional units.
How would you define Family Film?
I see Family Film as an 'existential adventure movie' where the adventure isn’t happening with the parents at sea, but in Prague, behind the four walls of the flat where the children stay. We don’t need to travel far to find adventure or to solve our problems.
What role does the family play in Family Film?
In the film I play with the idea of alienation within the family unit and also investigate ways of “reassembling” the family. I’m interested in what happens when we remove the figures of the king and queen from the “family game of chess.” Which family members become the main actors? How the roles are divided? How is responsibility transferred to others within the family? In order to discover the role that the family plays in today’s society and which values it represents, I dismantle and reconstruct the family into various possible functional units. The story features the family in several extremely tense situations, and it is the father’s dog, marooned on a desert island, which ultimately saves the family from falling apart.
You mentioned the theme of alienation within the family unit. How do you perceive this?
Alienation manifests itself on several levels in the story. At certain moments, for all family members, entering their own flat becomes like entering a stranger’s home. The theme of alienation also manifests itself in a bizarre game played by youngsters, a variation of Russian roulette, in which they tempt fate by taking the liw in the nude. Finally, the theme is also played out in the father and mother’s return home with their exotic tan they visibly do not fit in and are distanced from the world they return to, excluded from it.
In the film, you separate the world of the youngsters from that of the adults. What connects them?
The parents’ trip exposes two worlds, the world of youth and the adult world. In the world of youth I concentrate on the manner in which the brother and sister express their conflict and the sense of freedom that after the initial euphoric period becomes ever more burdensome and binding. The brother and sister here are two equal characters – they both represent the remnants of the family. More than the fate of each individual character, I’m interested in how the ‘family’ reconstitutes itself without the presence of the mother and father.
How do you work with actors, especially young actors?
Following my experience with working with young actors in the film A Night Too Young, I continued to use the observation ‘method’. The acting is realistic and appropriate for the psychological treatment of the characters and their fates, with much emphasis on maters that are hidden and which the protagonists try to repress.
The film does not have an entirely conventional dramatic structure. In which segments do you feel that you most diverge from classical storytelling?
Beyond the story, Family Film focuses on a question derived from classical play-writing. In this respect, I’m interested in how a particular protagonist’s position changes as the story progresses. Does a person in fact change? Is he or she capable of undergoing an internal transformation? Does the father in the end actually see more deeply into his own fate? Has he ever had a choice in life? Maybe he has but, in conflict with the common conviction that humans today are autonomous, the fundamental feature of our theme is that we are condemned to not having a real choice, something that we should seriously examine, question, and try to comprehend the laws of, even if all this brings us into conflict with our ideas and desires. Family Film depicts all this through the family unit, specifically by means of those aspects that reveal the fragility of the material from which it is woven, especially in the event of tragedy.
To what extent does the dog contribute to soothe the family's relationships?
The family is being tested. As it deals with tragedy behind the four walls of the flat, the film plot moves to an isolated island where we are witness to their dog, fighting for its life. Maters that in the story remain unresolved and open are projected onto the dog that inadvertently becomes a kind of catalyst, bearing the burden of the slowly-fragmenting family. This disintegration of the family unit thus at some point becomes comparative to the dog's fate whose struggle to stay alive determines the survival of the family itself.
2015 Family Film (Rodinny film, 95 min, fiction)
World Premiere - San Sebastian International Film Festival 2015, New Directors Competition
2012 A Night Too Young (Prilis mlada noc, 65 min, fiction) Premiered at Berlinale 2012
Best Film – Neisse Film Festival 2012
Best Director – Voices Vologda 2012
Best Film – FAMU fest Prague 2012
RWE Prize – Discovery of the Year (Czech Film Critics’ Awards 2013) Special Men3on – Bradford Int’l Film Festival 2013
2008 The Second Act (Druhe dejstvi, 43 min, fiction)
Special Mention Fresh Film Fest Karlovy Vary 2008
Meo Award for the Best Short Film – Estoril Film Festival 2008
Cinepur Prize – for the Best Short Film FAMU Fest Prague 2008
Special Mention for Directing – Festival of Slovenian film Portoroz 2008
Special Mention for the Best Actress for Ivana Uhlirova – Festival Premiers Plan Angers 2009
2006 Love (Laska, short fiction)
2006 Tears (Slzy, short documentary)
2005 Masks (Masky, short fiction)
2005 At Four PM (Ve ctyri odpoledne, short fiction) 2003 Nothing (Nic, short fiction)
1998 Almir (short fiction)