Romanian film review: Mommy’s dearest – Child’s Pose

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Three more days to go and the adrenalin level is rising as the final entries in the Berlinale competition are screened. Rankings are flying and predictions are changing with every new gem.

But some films strike a chord with everyone and this year it was Romanian director Călin Peter Netzer’s Poziția copilului/Child’s Pose which made quite an impression, or rather the lead actress, the wonderful Luminița Gheorghiu (in picture). A regular of the so-called Romanian New Wave, she finally gets the chance to carry an entire film and she doesn’t once hit a wrong note.

Gheorghiu plays an overbearing mother who takes things to the limit when her only son hits a child in a car accident and faces imprisonment. Whether it’s motherly love or manic anxiety is left for the audience to decide while she turns into a frightening, raging bully to save her child.

A tight script and the overall good performances make for a solid, satisfying watch. In addition to an intelligent approach to family values, especially Eastern European ones, where the bonds between parents and children tend to be too close for their own good sometimes, the film also touches on the infuriating range of everyday corruption, from the lowest to the highest level. The contemporary Romanian ‘upper class’ (or rather middle class with money to spend on social and artistic hobbies) is given harsh treatment in Netzer’s pic. The powerful are often poor on empathy and decency and while this is hardly an original discovery, it is uncanny how precisely Netzer spots all the cracks in the bourgeouis facade.

While the topic has had more subtle or downright scandalous cinematic treatments it is Gheorghiu’s presence that gives it a human, highly individual touch and gives the picture its powerful impact. It is her film.

On a delicious side note: the film is scheduled to hit Romanian screens on exactly March 8th, the International Women’s Day. So by all means, save the date.

And until then have a look at the trailer below.

By Ioana Moldovan, columnist, [email protected] 

(photo source: Child’s Pose on Facebook)