So often in cinema — and especially the cinema of Eastern Europe — the importance of fathers is felt in their very absence. Men who’ve left their expected family roles, and wreckage in their wake, is a theme that crops up again and again, whether they have gone off to war or to make a living in more lucrative conditions, or simply ditched their responsibilities for another woman or the bottle. Whatever the reason, the societal message to audiences is clear: youngsters are messed up by not having a solid male role model to emulate, and this wound will prompt them to angrily act out, or at least ache to repair the loss.
Sometimes in these archetypal stories fathers come back, only for the distance to remain unbridged. In Russian auteur Andrei Zvyagintsev’s The Return (2003), two adolescent boys are shocked when their father appears after twelve years, and a wilderness bonding trip unleashes repressed hostility. Romanian director Radu Jude makes more of a black comedy out of the failings of fatherhood, but his absurdist portrayal of a deadbeat dad who holds his ex’s household under siege Everybody in Our Family (2012) still stokes our fears that the line between civil niceties and out-of-control mayhem is thin. In the recent Czech-Slovak drama Let There Be Light (2019) by
Dear reader. You have already read a free review/view article today (but all industry news is free), so please come back tomorrow or login if you are a subscriber? For 9 euro, you will get full access to around 2000 articles, all our e-magazines – and receive the coming printed magazines.