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Hans-Christian Schmid is one of my personal favourite directors working in Germany today, one of a trio of directors telling very personal and dramatic stories without fear and with greatest skill (the other two being Christian Petzold and Andreas Dresen). “Lichter” (Distant  Lights) and “Requiem” are true highlights of the last decade in German cinema, “Sturm” also a very interesting and daring venture into a suppressed debate.

“Home For The Weekend” has all the characteristics of New German Cinema, albeit of the kind that is dealing with family and relationship, with guilt and consequences of actions. It is about a family that seems to be all right at face value, with the regular monetary troubles or the career doubts. With the children grown up, the mother decides to take a radical step, one that is very important to her, as she expects to get some quality of life back after a history of disease. What erupts is a surprising level of oposition  on part of her family, a serious distrust into her ability to make her own decisions. The family was, it seems, quite happy to have a less troublesome mother, even if they know that she was suffering. Being doubted and attacked, she feels that her family would rather see her false self, but does not want to be burdened with her true one.

All this plays in the realistic style New German Cinema is known for, without much production fuss, carried by the actors. Those are for the most part excellent, they are able to display how layer after layer of harmonious family is shed and some unpleasant truths emerge.

Without spoiling it, it seemed to me the ending is particularly cruel. Within a very short time, the husband has adjusted to a completely new situation, has changed from one way of life to another, has not even suppressed bitter memories but rather seems to see the developments as a change for the better for his and his family’s life. What is truly bitter is that he has a case, and it would be dishonest to negate that his position can be understood.

One of those very good films coming out of a very reflective generation of German film makers, not the most entertaining bit of cinema, but a very rewarding one.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2180587/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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