Director: Andrea Pallaoro
Writer: Andrea Pallaoro, Orlando Tirado
Cast: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Brían F. O’Byrne, Mary Mouser, Ian Nelson, Maxim Knight, Jake Vaughn, Kevin Alejandro
Part of: Viennale
Ennis (Brían F. O’Byrne) lives with his wife Christina (Catalina Sandino Moreno) and their children on their farm. While Ennis mostly worries about money and can’t really bridge the distance to his wife or children, Christina – who is deaf – gets along very well with all of the kids, but also has an affair with Noah (Kevin Alejandro). As tensions keep rising within the family, their lack of communication with each other becomes ever more apparent.
Medeas is not exactly an easy movie. It’s slow. There’s not alot of talking. It’s told in impressionistic images. The framing is unusual. In short it’s the kind of film you’d expect to see at a film festival and which more often than not goes horribly wrong. I’m happy to report, though, that Medeas didn’t go wrong at all. It’s very much worth the effort you have to put in.
Visually I absolutely adored the movie. I loved their camera work which was as much a narrator of the story as the characters. When the camera zooms in and shows you only fragments of what’s going on, it makes you more empathic to the story instead of being irritating. The framing generally was great and added yet another layer to the characterization of the film’s protagonist.
The colors Pallaoro uses are amazing in their warmth, which doesn’t want to fit the film’s topic at first glance but works beautifully to enrich the story. It may look warm and happy, and partly it even is, but that just makes the less warm and happy parts stand out more.
The acting was superb, too. Especially Catalina Sandino Moreno and Brián F. O’Byrne were fantastic. You went along with every single one of their emotions and it was glorious.
The only thing that I wasn’t completely happy with was the fact that Pallaoro and Tirado used Christina’s deafness as a further symptom of her alienation because she wasn’t able to communicate that well. And honestly that seemed a bit backward thinking to me. Deaf people can communicate perfectly fine and especially with their families they have their ways and shorthands, just like everybody else. The problem in this situation was not her deafness, but the general lack of communication. Making her deafness part of that just serves to reinforce the notion that deaf people somehow have a deficit, a lack of communicative skills. And that just isn’t the case.
Apart from that, though, it was extremely thoughtfully made, interesting and I liked it.
Summarizing: very fine movie.