01-07-2011

The Other Family / La otra familia

Competition
Dir. Gustavo Loza

Taking into consideration that his mother is a crack-addict, it is not difficult to guess why the round-faced big-eyed 7-year-old protagonist of the movie has such a strange and not at all Mexican name Hendrix. In the song written by Serge Gainsbourg back in 1978 and called “Ex Fan des Sixties” Jane Birkin missed the legendary black guitarist together with all those who were the meaning of her youth - Brian Jones, Janis Joplin etc. That is not the case with the Mexican Nina. All their bequests and they themselves are still a part of her life. Only her own son Hendrix is calling for his Mom in vain at night. So Nina’s friend, the lesbian Ivana settles him with a family of gays, who have finally registered their marriage after ten years and who live in an impeccable house with a swimming pool. She herself is busy talking her brother into becoming a sperm donor for her friend’s egg cell, which Ivana wants to implant and then give birth to a child.

When one of the gays brings home an unknown boy, everyone is amazed - not merely the servants, but the newlywed, who is having a hangover, as well. During the first hour it is a sitcom familiar from Latino TV series with melodramatic and criminal injections. Servants and maids who have too many personal opinions, nevertheless do their job thoroughly, dusting photo albums like “Big Penis Book”, where the quirkier the fantasies of the rich, the larger their hearts, and by means of which housewives are given the right idea in an accessible language of easily foretold mishaps that all people are equally necessary and important.

But towards the end, when the boy is sent to the orphanage, the sodomites go to court and the lesbian is undergoing surgery at the Huston clinic of artificial insemination, the movie will reveal the contrast, which is probably the deepest for modern society. It is the contrast between what the establishment of today approves and what it tries to push away into he sphere of denunciated, the shocking TV news. The former is everything sterile, impersonal, orderly and artificial, like that insemination. And the latter is everything that lives and breathes. The former is created by the familiar (at least from Paul Anderson’s “Magnolia”) technique of monotonous enumeration achieved by cutting. The latter, the image of the living world which is being ousted, is the sole responsibility of Nailea Norvind playing Nina. While most actors are content with creating familiar stereotypes, Norvind resorts to “acting shrieks”, but communicates the sexual challenge, the animal dependence, Nina’s tears of helplessness and of that other world. This is important for the hierarchy of meanings in the film. The world of Hendrix’s blood mother. And it was Hendrix who caused all the hubbub. It is interesting, that the father of this fantastic actress was the Russian count Pavel Chegodayev Saxon. And her mother was an eminent psychotherapist Eva Norvind, who was hired in Hollywood to train Rene Russo in the sexual behavior, with which she flabbergasted us 12 years ago in “The Thomas Crown Affair”.

Alexey Vasiliev