Inside ‘Family Dinner’, the body horror movie at the Tribeca Film Festival

We’ve all tried family visits during the holidays, but most of us have never experienced a reunion like the Easter curse in the middle of family dinner.

Austrian writer/director Peter Hengel’s debut outside the Tribeca Film Festival keeps the action understated at first, but in the end, the film’s carefully choreographed horror gives way to true, deep terror. While true ugliness is in the heart family dinner Best left as a surprise, suffice to say, the climax may leave viewers poised for the many family dinners to come.

Things seem pretty harmless when 15-year-old Simi (Nina Catlin) first arrives at her aunt’s (Pia Herziger) home to celebrate Easter. Simi is initially nervous when she asks her celebrity nutritionist to help her lose weight but appears relieved when Claudia brings up the topic herself and agrees to put Simi on a new regimen over Easter Sunday. First job application? Simi starved for a few days to “detox” her body.

Anyone with body image issues will recognize the gentle and shameless tone that Claudia adopts when talking to her niece; It’s a painfully subtle echo of intrusive relatives everywhere. At every turn, Hengl highlights the deeper issues underlying Claudia’s obsession with weight and “nutrition.” Her controlling behavior towards Simi is not unique but an exaggerated version of the same frightening temper and lack of empathy that Claudia shows to everyone around her, including her mischievous son, Philip (Alexander Sladick).

It’s not just Aunt Simi who looks a bit distant, too; Everyone in this house gives terrible feelings. Claudia’s husband, Stefan (Michael Pink), may be kinder to his niece in marriage than Claudia, but all the time family dinner, his plays in kindness sound frightening. Throughout the film, we catch little glimpses of the annoyance he makes in Simi. At one point, she woke up from a nightmare in which he attempted to sexually assault her in front of an empty refrigerator. Meanwhile, Simi’s spoiled cousin Philip seems to love nothing more than to be bullied for no apparent reason.

The lingering tension between Simi and Claudia sets the pace, as does Simi’s growing realization that the person she’s chosen to help “fix” her body might not be quite right — or even fit — herself.

Hengl lines up his fears with methodical restraint, intertwining Simi’s rave-delicious hunger with shocking discoveries such as a decapitated rat and an alarming manuscript of Claudia’s newer and more extreme book. The film’s script takes a careful approach that trusts viewers to connect the dots between its themes – between a wealthy family starving in the name of spiritual enlightenment, and at the same time, denying their humanity to a family member based solely on their weight. As Simi grows despondent, we notice that she increasingly looks forward to potentially disgusting meals — from leftovers prepared for litter, to a batch of toothpaste, to rabbit carcass scraps.

But to go back to that dead rat: If there is one side of family dinnerStorytelling that tastes a bit spoiled, it’s Simi’s unbelievable naivety. both in the movie and The real lifeOlder people are often described as stupid, lazy, or both. Sometimes, Simi feels Simi’s inability to discern where the real dangers surrounding her lie are. In addition to compromising the film’s credibility, her struggle to piece the puzzle together slows the action down, especially at moments that a tighter film might have used as turning points.

As Simi grows despondent, we notice that she increasingly looks forward to potentially disgusting meals — from leftovers prepared for litter, to a batch of toothpaste, to rabbit carcass scraps.

At first, Simi thinks it was Philip who left the dead rat on her pillow. This idea begins to fall apart when we watch him suffocate on a hunting trip, unable to sever the throat of a dying rabbit to end his misery. The importance of the moment never gets what you deserve; Although Simi seems to realize that there could be more things to her cousin than she thought, she didn’t go a step further to try and investigate who left the headless ferrets on her pillow instead – or why they did it.

visually family dinner Feels like it almost reminds us valdemar johansson PregnancyAnother horror movie aimed at agricultural carnage and richly dyed textiles. Simi’s seclusion in her aunt’s luxurious home is not only emotional, but visual; Her aunt’s bosom constantly looked like it came out of a catalog, while she usually walked around the house in tight pajamas and hoods. She does not wear makeup like her aunt, and her hair is long with blunt bangs. Each layer of production seems designed to emphasize how close home life and death are on this country estate – and how lonely Simi feels within.

But this movie has more than the average thriller. In the end, Simi discovers the dark truth of her aunt’s recent research – and why no publisher seems to want to touch the manuscript despite the massive success of Claudia’s earlier work. By the time Simi finally sits down for Easter dinner, the main course is a plate full of dramatic sarcasm — the kind that leaves a disgustingly delicious aftertaste. Good luck getting it out of your mouth before your next meal.