EIFF 2012 Reviews: Happy Family
By Savithri Machiraju
Two years ago when I went to EIFF, I felt that, though the films were from all over the world, pretty much all were very influenced by American/Hollywood style of filmmaking and even storylines. Also noted extensive use of music, and in particular, American music, to enhance/move along the story, even in films that were not in English. So this time I decided to pay special attention to cinematic technique, to try to identify differences and similarities between cinemas from different countries.
In Happy Family, as it opened, I felt you could immediately tell it was a European film—there was a different sensibility to it. But how to define this? It’s not clear how to articulate this immediately. More focus on setting and characterization? I recall one of my film course instructors saying that European films are more talky, while American films, especially Hollywood ones—ie. big studio productions—are more action driven. This observation is somewhat true with this one. The premise of the film, a writer/filmmaker trying to figure out what to write, and the characters coming and talking to him to tell their stories, is not one usually seen even in American independent films. I think Europeans might be more attuned to artists and artistic mentality?
A few shorts notes on the film:
- - Clever how characters overtake a writer and demand a satisfactory ending for themselves
- - Story (of family function and dysfunction) not very original, but told in a clever way
- - Noted use of American music in English even in this one—why? Italy is not lacking for music! Song’s meaning was situationally appropriate, too.
- - One really imaginative sequence—when a lead character is playing a piano concerto—the music is portrayed with a lot of visuals, to bring out the meaning, or emotions felt by the player/listener. Very nicely done.
- - Heard several people in line for the next film praise this one as “charming”
Posted by: yegfilm on Sun, Sep 30, 2012