'Child's Pose': Mother humiliates herself for her son
*** 1/2 (out of four stars)
Directed by Calin Peter Netzer. With Luminita Gheorghiu, Bogdan Dumitrache, Ilinca Goia. In Romanian with subtitles. 1 hour, 52 mins. No MPAA rating (adult themes). Playing at: Ritz Bourse.
To what lengths will a mother go to save her son - her disaffected adult son - from ruin? In Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer's slow burn of a psychodrama, the answer is pretty much any length necessary, even if it means trammeling innocents, humiliating oneself.
A dark piece of neorealism - and a searing indictment of Eastern Europe's newly moneyed classes - Child's Pose stars the daunting Luminita Gheorghiu as a Bucharest architect who tries to exert influence on the police, and on a poor family, after her son is involved in a deadly car accident.
Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache), a do-nothing thirtysomething, accidentally runs down a boy who appears in front of him on a road. Barbu is carted off to the local police station, and Gheorghiu's Cornelia is called into action. With an air of crushing entitlement, the mother, wrapped in her fur, moves to entreat the authorities and the bereaved. Meanwhile, Barbu demonstrates just how spineless, narcissistic, and unapologetic a progeny he can be.
Child's Pose offers a razor-sharp study of smothering mother love and manipulation. It's as hard to watch as it is impossible to look away. - Steven Rea