Child’s Pose

Calin Peter Netzer

In the upper echelons of Romania’s nouveau riche, against a murky backdrop of corruption and excess, Child’s Pose probes into the caustic relationship between a domineering mother, Cornelia (Luminita Gheorghiu) and her adult son, Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache).

When a 14-year-old boy is killed in a collision with Barbu’s speeding Porsche, Cornelia, a high-powered architect with a formidable address book, is eager to pull at the strings of her son’s life once again. Amid a palette of dark tones, Child’s Pose emerges as a film of contrasts: dressed in furs at the police station, Cornelia disregards the child’s grief-stricken parents to plot Barbu’s escape from prison, whatever the cost. Scrutinised frame by frame in an intrusive documentary style, the dysfunctional push-and-pull of Razvan Radulescu’s multilayered dialogue ignites Gheorghiu’s most monstrous and complex performance to date.

Indeed, Netzer’s claustrophobic account of loss, alienation and greed has as much to say about the family unit as the indifference of Romania’s class system: the centre will not hold.

Grace Caffyn