Before Family Instinct even starts, the viewer is forced to swallow the facts. Zanda's brother Valdis is in prison for abuse and Zanda is on her own, in a little house in the Latvian countryside. Her two children were apparently fathered by that same brother, with whom she lived all that time. And the letters that Valdis sends home bode nothing nice about his return. "It's all your fault," he writes. She should never have reported him. In true fly-on-the-wall style, director Andris Gauja films the family's hard-boiled life in rural Latvia during Valdis's absence. Too much alcohol and too little money are key causes of the constant arguments between Zanda, her mother, her stepbrother, and her neighbor. The small children seem accustomed to the screaming and fights, and happily play in the snow. They are all waiting for Valdis; after all, Zalda admits she can't let him down. At the same time, she also knows that she is in danger of losing custody of her children. She wonders if her alcoholic neighbor might be able to offer her a better life. Gauja turns off the camera the day that Valdis returns to his family, and we have to make due with a short epilogue.
Wybrane nagrody i festiwale /Selected festivals and awards: 2010 – MFF Amsterdam/IDFA
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