Family

  • 111'
  • India
  • 2023

Sony is a kind man, a good Christian. He is always willing to lend his fellow villagers a helping hand, assist struggling children with their school lessons or organise volunteer activities. When an outcast family is struck by tragedy, he negotiates with the Church to rehabilitate them financially. Sony is not just the connective tissue, but the beating heart of this small Catholic village. Under his genial exterior, however, lurks something dark.

Don Palathara’s (Everything Is Cinema, IFFR 2021) sensitive social drama Family is a nuanced, finely observed portrait of a devout Christian community in Kerala in Southern India. Piecing together vignettes of everyday life in the village, seen largely through Sony’s eyes, the film reveals the paradoxes and hypocrisies that animate close-knit rural existence: details of people’s private lives become public knowledge instantly through unseen networks of gossip, while uncomfortable truths are buried in the name of common morality.

Mediating these social relations is the Church itself, which both holds the village together as a family and entrenches its inequities. Just as Sony’s increasing participation in public life feels tender and horrendous at the same time, the insidiousness of the community’s self-preservation mechanisms turn out to be inextricable from a sense of its fragility. Palathara’s film offers a complex picture of a quotidian conspiracy with no easy answers.

 

Srikanth Srinivasan

Director
Don Palathara
Premiere
World premiere
Country of production
India
Year
2023
Festival Edition
IFFR 2023
Length
111'
Medium
DCP
Language
Malayalam
Production Company
Newton Cinema
Sales
Newton Cinema
Screenplay
Don Palathara, Sherin Catherine
Cinematography
Jaleel Badusha
Editor
Don Palathara
Production Design
Arun Jose
Sound Design
Renganaath Ravee
Music
Basil C. J.
Cast
Vinay Forrt