DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

The Closer We Get

Director - Karen Guthrie - 2016

"Dirty gem"
The dark side of the family picture: extremely candid autobiographical doc reveals that family life can be disappointing and painful, but it is ultimately possible to achieve altruism, happiness and redemption - read our exclusive review and win DVDs and Blu-rays

Family life isn’t always pretty. Ageing is inevitable, health problems and the inability to communicate feelings, anxieties and disappointments are often conspicuous. No family is exempt from thorny and painful issues, even where there is plenty of love, affection and altruism. Scottish artist and filmmaker Karen Guthrie took the difficult and brave decision to film her own family in all of their virtues and fallacies. Cinema here isn’t just a register of woes and wounds. It is, above everything else, a tool for reflection and reconciliation. Perhaps it is also a cathartic venting outlet.

Karen’s mother Ann is very old and frail, having recently suffered a stroke. Karen voices her predicament in a very shockingly candid fashion: “We’ve brought back home what’s left of her”. Ann’s memory and speech have been deeply affected, and the impact on Karen and the rest of the family is tremendous. Karen is once again very succinct: “Hope she forgot all she lost, because we haven’t”.

The filmmaker brazenly exposes the shortcomings of her family members, particularly her father. He abandoned the family 15 years ago in order to live in Africa, but recently rejoined them. She also exposes the day his secret Ethiopian love child arrived on their doorstep, and how her family welcomed the unexpected and unlikely new addition. Yet she is neither resentful nor patronising of her dad. She displays instead a firm and stoic acceptance of the mistakes the old man made in the past. Perhaps she understands and respects his decisions.

The film is packed with awkward silences and long takes of her mother being hoisted in and out of bed and around the house. Karen’s narration is heartfelt and yet laborious. Emotions are very British. Had this been an Italian or Brazilian film, there would be likely plenty of screaming and finger-pointing. Yet the British seem able to get very close to the heart of the matter without an epic display of anger and frustration.

The most powerful moment of the film comes in the end, when Ann – despite her extremely frail body and fragmented mind – tries cheer up her daughter Karen. Despite her condition, she is still able to convey altruism, hope and happiness. A very beautiful lesson to be learnt.

DMovies is giving away three DVDs or Blu-rays of The Closer We Get to our readers in the UK. Just e-mail us the name of the filmmaker to info@dirtymovies.org. We will announce the winners during the second week of September.

You can find out more information about distribution rights and how to view the film on their webpage here. And you can also watch the film trailer below:

.



"Dirty gem"

By Victor Fraga - 30-08-2016

By Victor Fraga - 30-08-2016

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 years of inv...

DMovies Poll

Do/would you go to the cinema in order to watch documentaries?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

François Ozon probably doesn’t get much sleep. At [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Time flies by! DMovies was launched in February [Read More...]
American novelist Dennis Cooper’s cinematic debut feels like [Read More...]
It’s 2018, and neoliberalism is steadily morphing into [Read More...]
On the occasion of the UK release of [Read More...]

Read More

On Body and Soul (Testről és lélekről)

Ildikó Enyedi
2017

Jeremy Clarke - 19-09-2017

See you in my dreams! Golden Bear winner is an oneiric romance set against the unlikely backdrop of an abattoir - out in cinemas this week [Read More...]

Five dirty picks from the Raindance Film Festival

 

Victor Fraga - 18-09-2017

Check out top five recommendations for the Raindance Film Festival, one of the largest showcases for independent cinema in the world, starting this week in London [Read More...]

The Road Movie

Dmitrii Kalashnikov
2017

Victor Fraga - 14-09-2017

This jaw-dropping documentary entirely filmed from dashcams on Russian cars provides a shocking, bleak and despondent portrait of the largest country in the world - at Hot Docs London [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *