Stranded after their mother’s passing, a teenage brother and sister awkwardly socialise, take long walks on the beach and get serious about fitness in this dry, Jim Jarmusch-esque hangout film.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
Full of droll comic situations punctuating the stasis of a small seaside town, Family Members is a wry and gently absurdist look at sibling bonds in flux. Somewhere on Argentina’s Atlantic coast, Gilda and Lucas return to their mother’s home, left vacant following her sudden death. On the beach, they reach into a box and ceremonially toss a prosthetic hand into the ocean – their mother’s, in lieu of ashes from her yet-to-be-cremated body. Later that day, when a drivers’ strike cancels all buses back to Buenos Aires, the pair decide to take an extended vacation in their new surroundings. Gilda makes the most of her free time meditating with chakra stones and perfecting nude selfies; Lucas, meanwhile, brags about his martial arts prowess to Guido, a local Instagram fitness guru and potential first love for the sexually frustrated teen.
Parties, fight clubs, tarot card readings and strange messages from a hole on the beach instigate a delicate tension between adolescence and mourning. Sweetly observing this state, Mateo Bendesky’s languid sophomore feature explores the forming of identity and a sense of self through the sibling’s shared grief and growing pains as young adults.
About the Filmmaker
Mateo Bendesky is a graduate filmmaker of Universidad del Cine. His shorts and features have screened at Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and Rotterdam film festivals, among others. He is currently developing La fiebre, his third feature film.