Child's Pose (Pozitia copilului, 2013) is a raw and unflinching film, smothered by the unconditional love of a mother. Despite her privileged lifestyle and obvious material wealth, 60-year-old Cornelia's (Luminita Gheorghiu) life is far from cheerful. The one thing she longs for more than anything else in the world is for her 30-year-old, despondent and insular son Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache) to reciprocate the unreserved affection she has for him - though this is easier said then done.
The pair hardly speak, something Cornelia blames on his girlfriend, Carmen (Ilinca Goia), who fails to live up to her standards, and whom Cornelia wholeheartedly believes is the sole reason for her son's withdrawn demeanour. However, when Barbu is involved in a tragic car accident, killing a small child in the process, Cornelia is thrust back into his life. Her maternal instincts kick in and for a brief while, its like she has her son back. Calling in favours from a plethora of eminent members of the community, Cornelia grasps her chance to win back Barbu. Yet, despite her best intentions, this motherly affection soon begins to reveal itself as a self-serving manipulation.
Child's Pose is a movie that simmers with domestic conflict and almost suffocates you in its domineering sense of urgency.
Whilst this efficient and highly effective approach helps immerse the audience into this fractured household, it's the phenomenal performance of Gheorghiu as Cornelia that makes them want to stay.
Fully embracing her character's flaws and eccentricities, Gheorghiu presents us will an empowered, yet fragile woman who can plough through a busy room with the destructive ferocity of a whirlwind, constantly driven by an insatiable hunger for love and respect. It's a striking performance that successfully turns this serpentine monster of manipulation and arrogance into an curiously compelling and endearing character.
A suffocating and overbearing drama, Child's Pose cuts to the bare bone of maternal love. Yet despite Netzer's harsh and clinical approach, his gentle use of humour and the most sincerest of intentions create a deeply compassionate film about the emotionally crippling effects of loss - and an enlightening examination of contemporary Romanian society.
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