Rok Biček, Slovenia/Austria, 2017, 106'
World Premiere
Monday August 7th, 11.00, Cinema Teatro Kursaal
Tuesday August 8th, 18.30, L'altra Sala

en / it / de / fr

How could a film camera possibly accompany the life of the Rajk family for so long? The one to ask is filmmaker Rok Biček whose gaze – something that is obvious from the start – managed to acquire a degree of intimacy that is usually almost impossible to achieve. He captured intense private situations so naturally as if he were invisible, as if nobody was aware of his presence in the room. This may be easier to achieve for short periods or a defined focus. However, it is very complicated, if not well-nigh impossible in constantly fluctuating situations stretching over a decade. The focus of this observation is Matej Rajk, a boy like any other – or maybe not: The film portrays an eventful, problematic childhood up to the somewhat nerdy and rebellious youth, from the first love that led to paternity to a difficult separation. It also explores the father-daughter and son-father relationship and the topic of disability, which accompanies his quality of life as a central point.

The Slovenian director gained international esteem with his film Class Enemy, which received an award at the International Film Critics’ Week in Venice in 2013. Using a documentary approach, the film has actors restage an incident the filmmaker experienced at high school: the rebellion of an entire class against the teachers after the suicide of a student. Here too, Biček reveals his exceptional interest for human existence at the age of 10 to 12 up to about 20, and for the uncertainties and communication problems that are typical of this phase of life.

Through his crafty use of a jumbled timeline, Biček succeeds in bringing something to life that can – quite justifiably – be called the documentary version of Boyhood. Very gently but also inexorably, he accompanies Matej on all his discoveries, follies and existential adventures, even when he fails and when life presents the bill. In this way, we get to know and like the protagonist. Sometimes we even want to shake or help him because we almost feel physically present. Just like Linklater’s celebrated work, The Family succeeds in achieving a crazy and yet so valuable and specifically cinematographic endeavour, that of bringing time to a standstill for the audience. In less than two hours, ten years of real life pass by, that of Matej and the people around him.

Marco Zucchi