Child’s Pose Screen 19 articles

Child’s Pose


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  • The film, more than the complicated milieu it depicts, is at odds with itself: The critique of well-to-do Romanian pettiness is harsh and, through Barbu's explicit explanation of his mother's power-grabbing impulses, the filmmaker's judgment of Cornelia's motivations becomes overstated. Despite the film's detailed settings and shaky-cam realism, the exaggerated and simplistic characterizations... are more suited for the scope of a soap opera and undermine the film's purported verisimilitude.

  • Calin Peter Netzer’s Pozitia copilului (Child’s Pose) was, to be frank, a mystifying choice for the Golden Bear. Not that there was anything flagrantly deficient about the film, it merely underwhelmed on almost every level... The film will undoubtedly be slotted into that country’s ongoing New Wave – with Netzer more closely aligned to Radu Muntean than Cristian Mungiu – but it lacks the incisive bite of the movement’s earlier standout works.

  • Child’s Pose is the sort of film that foregrounds a major event rather than a plot per se, in the hope that the exploration of said event will allow character nuance and social significance to waft up from cracks in the façade. Another way to put this is, Netzer would like to be making A Separation(another recent Bear awardee), but he doesn’t possess Asghar Farhadi’s dramatic or formal skills.

  • Flinging the camera casually to feign action where there’s only dialogue, trimming the action to fit narrowly defined characters, Netzer offers a bland simulacrum of documentary reality that lines up precisely with his clichéd prejudices. But in the few moments when spontaneous emotion takes over, surprising moments of grace arise.

  • ...Netzer has no idea what to do with a movie camera apart from point it in the vague direction of his actors. Since the actors he’s hired are first-rate, and he’s working with an intelligent (if somewhat diffuse) screenplay co-authored by Razvan Radulescu (The Death Of Mr. Lazarescu; 4 Months, 3 Weeks, And 2 Days; Tuesday, After Christmas), his formal ineptitude doesn’t completely sink the picture. But it does often make it a trial to watch.

  • Ms. Gheorghiu, a familiar presence from movies like “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu,” maintains a corrosive, unsentimental grip on this film throughout. It’s too bad that the filmmakers don’t allow an occasional breath of air into the sepulchral proceedings or ease up on the increasingly heavy-handed lessons. Less truly would have been more in the scene in which Cornelia instructs her understandably wary housekeeper to take a coffee break with her and then grills her about Barbu’s life...

  • ...Child’s Pose is poised to become the most high profile Romanian film released in the United States since 2007’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Unfortunately, this attention to straightforward, mostly humor-deprived storytelling often sits uneasily with Netzer’s realist inclinations; while calling to mind some of the country’s initial 21st-century output, his style occasionally strains to bolster the gravity of the narrative.

  • The setup, rich and poor intersecting on a raw nexus of vehicular violence, appears to promise something in the vein of Lucrecia Martel's The Headless Woman, with the careless act as symbolic summation for an ingrained tradition of fiscal neglect. But with less focus on the particulars of the case than Cornelia's efforts to save her son from a long prison term, Child's Pose ends up somewhere closer to Joon-ho Bong's Mother, mapping out the desperate extremes of the maternal instinct.

  • [Cornelia's] unable to see that if you repeatedly tell your kid over and over again that they mustn't want to ever withdraw from you because you expect/demand a "normal relationship," you just made that impossible. That's pretty much all there is to this almost parodically typical "Romanian film," in which as usual crisis is an excuse to anatomize societal and institutional dysfunction in a variety of arenas, flawlessly enacted in largely unflattering interiors populated by chainsmokers...

  • Nothing proves the vitality of an artistic movement better than the excellence of its supposed second-tier adherents. While lacking the elegant formal conviction of the best Romanian New Wave films, Calin Peter Netzer’s Child’s Pose is nevertheless a work of sophisticated and affecting storytelling, persuasively enmeshing the fate of individuals with that of society.

  • ...A movie about how things work in society, the mutual favours and manipulations, the procedures to be followed - it recalls A Separation, another legal drama with a class angle - unexpectedly shifting from cool to hot in the final stretch, a nakedly emotional ending that offers up the raw unadulterated love between parents and children (though not actually love but need, obsession: "Parents are fulfilled by their children") that gets skewed and twisted in the rest of the movie.

  • Netzer's film is about moral decline, but it's also about the survival instincts of the economic elites, always ready to channel their vast resources in order to overwhelm those underclass interlopers who might think of battering down the walls their paradise. The intense final scenes of the film cement the fact that, despite his obvious mania, it's not Barbu who needs saving from himself, it's Cornelia.

  • Netzer’s jittery, handheld aesthetic complements the character’s icily fragile facade, which thaws over the course of the movie. The more Cornelia attempts to woo her child back into her overly protective clutches, the more he disconnects. A complex final scene—in which everyone finally lets the tears flow—only deepens the sense that well-meaning mother love can be as poisonous as it is nourishing.

  • The killing of a child is an unequivocally abhorrent act, but the given circumstances are not—Barbu was only speeding to overtake a belligerent driver and could not have seen the child recklessly run over the freeway—which compounds the moral complexity of the characters, disallows categorical judgment, and escalates to a climax of stupefying intensity when the victim’s family is brought into the picture in the final scene.

  • Child’s Pose is harder to fault as a film, but certainly the slow-combustion force of the drama comes from Luminita Gheorghiu, whose nuanced performance as Cornelia navigates between manipulative matriarch, proudly protective lioness, and an aging woman afraid of encroaching obsolescence. Audiences expecting to see a typical “monster mother” will be pleasantly surprised by the complexity of the character and portrayal.

  • Child’s Pose treads a delicate line between social horror and comedy—so much so that, as with Lazarescu, it’s not always immediately apparent that the comedy is present. It shows us an aspect of Romanian society that we haven’t much seen before—concentrating on the wealthy and powerful, and showing how they edge the rest of the population out of the picture.

  • The great strength of the film is that it escapes the stereotypical reduction that such conspicuously pathological behavior would suggest. Thanks to the brilliant, utterly convincing central performance by Luminita Gheorghiu as Cornelia, and a strong, sympathetic Bogdan Dumitrache as her son, the characters are continually surprising and complex, difficult to dismiss as “types.”

  • The climactic Cornelia challenge... is a deft and unpredictable acting tour de force. Simply put, Gheorghiu, with vivid and perfectly judged performances in a half-dozen masterpieces or more (including two Michael Hanekes), may be the best actress of her fading generation, and here the entire film depends upon her restraint and nuanced interiority in what could've been a Bette Midler meltdown.

  • Just as Asghar Farhadi's 2011 film A SEPARATION was discussed by critics in terms of a Hitchcockian thriller, so, too, could Calin Peter Netzer's enormously accomplished CHILD'S POSE be thought of in those terms... Shaky hand-held camera movements and seemingly jaundiced cinematography add further dimensions to a thriller that is one of the best films to emerge from the Romanian New Wave in recent years.

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