Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for this sardonic tale about a wealthy, aging Bucharest matriarch who greases more palms than she can shake as she tries to buy her son’s way out of a hit-and-run conviction.
Contemporary World Cinema
Calin Peter Netzer
When the winner of the Golden Bear was announced earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival, it was an affirmation that, ten years on, the New Romanian Cinema continues to uphold its status as a national cinema whose strength lies in details. Călin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose brilliantly extracts its details from daily life, offering a rich tapestry of ethical questions and shifting power dynamics — and it cuts through Romania's justice system like butter.
Sexagenerian matriarch Cornelia (Luminita Gheorghiu) leads a life of privilege, surrounded by friends and wealth in Bucharest. Upon learning that her son Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache) was involved in a car accident and could now be facing a hefty jail sentence, Cornelia's maternal instincts kick into overdrive. Taking advantage of the connections afforded by her status, and dismissing the situation as a minor annoyance — Barbu killed a fourteen-year- old boy and fled the scene — Cornelia greases palms and pulls strings while her son looks on in a chemical-induced haze.
Continuing to explore his recurring
themes of domestic alienation and reconciliation,
Netzer conveys in this third
feature an impressive directorial evolution.
Co-written by acclaimed scriptwriter
Răzvan Rădulescu (The Death of Mister
Lazarescu), Child's Pose delivers a subtle
and nuanced portrait of human vulnerability
and loss while maintaining rigorous
neutrality in its hyperattentive camerawork.
Yet tragicomic elements are woven into the
narrative fabric: "You have another child,"
Cornelia tells the parents of the boy her
son killed, "but I only have him." Her plea is
heartfelt, and in obscenely poor taste. And if
Barbu is emblematic of the generation set to
inherit post-communist Romania, we have
every reason to be on the alert.