Review: Child’s Pose (M) *** and a half

child's pose

DIVORCEE Corneila (Luminita Gheorghiu), angry that her adult son Barbu (Bogdan Dumitruche) is trying to make a life for himself with Carmen (Ilinca Gola), gets called to the Police station after Barbu knocks down and kills a 14-year-old boy crossing the freeway.

Romanian director/co-writer Calin Peter Netzer tells the story of Cornelia’s campaign to traduce the investigation of the event. She tries to persuade the police to change details of an interview record and to bribe the driver of the car that Barbu was overtaking. She smoothes the grief of the dead boy’s parents. She scares Carmen in an attempt to remove her from Barbu’s life. She has always treated Barbu like an infant. Barbu finds resisting her cloying influence more than his damaged self-assurance can handle.

In a discomforting way, “Child’s Pose” is a comedy of errors and poor manners. Its mordant humour derives from antagonisms between its characters, of whom none invites our admiration except, perhaps, Barbu when he does what we have hoped throughout the film that he would – tell Cornelia to get off his case.

The cinematography often evokes a tennis match, swinging the film’s view between right and left. That, combined with Cornelia’s turpitude and obsession, might suggest that it’s a bleak film posing visual demands. Both those observations are true. But persevering against them is somehow satisfying. And Gheorghiu is wonderful as the chain-smoking hard-drinking manipulator who dominates the film.

At Palace Electric

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