An austere Dutch drama, punctuated by black comedy, which dissects emotional denial and dysfunctional family dynamics in the wake of a grandfather's announcement that he is going to end his life.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
Dysfunctional family dynamics are dissected in this austere drama punctuated with moments of black comedy. Elderly Konraad has decided not to live beyond the imminent first anniversary of his wife's death and informs his offspring of this by letter. Although distant from each other, his daughter Maria and granddaughters Sabine and Eva are all united in the way they fail to address this distressing news. Incapable of facing up to its implications and too caught up in their own neurotic concerns, they continue on as if nothing is happening. It is up to their spouses and lovers to step into the breach and deal with the mounting emotional upheaval. Histrionics are entirely absent in this acutely observed study that leaves much unsaid, for silence rules in this family. The narrative unfolds within a kaleidoscopic framework of short scenes, fluidly criss-crossing back and forth between the characters. This approach often obliges the viewer to make leaps and links – and ultimately offers a rewarding experience. — Sandra Reid