Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Cinematography at Sundance, Acasa, My Home intimately explores the internal and external pressures driving a large Romanian family out of nature and into the city.
The secret of this beautiful, bittersweet film about a group of people like no other is that, in the end, it's all so shockingly relatable.
For two decades, the Enache family has lived on the fringe of society in untouched wetlands next to Bucharest, in a rare urban ecosystem with flourishing biodiversity. Director and cinematographer Radu Ciorniciuc silently observes the combative patriarch Gica, his wife and their nine children as they are forced to reckon with social services and the local city council, who have different very plans for the family and the place they call home.
Observations of this thoroughly off-the-grid family are alternately idyllic (children fishing, playing and meandering through tall grass) and challenging (Gica often loudly berates his children, who all share their one room in their makeshift house), but their circumstances change suddenly when they are forced to move to the city and learn to conform to the rules of society. The children dream of returning to the family's now-bulldozed home by the lake – “This city isn’t good for us.”
Ciorniciuc, a veteran journalist, has built up such a level of trust with the Enache family that he allows us to be invisible spectators to incredibly raw moments over a period of great change. Over the course of the film, the family repeatedly clashes with authorities – some exchanges are heated, some are caring, but the filmmakers refuse to allow easy vilification on either side.
Acasa, My Home gently, and without judgement, probes complicated questions about who decides what is in the best interest of children, how the generational cycle of poverty disproportionately affects minorities; and whether development and 'civilisation' should happen at the expense of personal freedoms. Immersive sound design and sweeping cinematography illustrate the juxtaposition of bustling Bucharest next to what is now Văcărești Nature Park, however Ciorniciuc never loses sight of the family at the centre of all this chaos.
– Treise Armstrong, Film Programs Coordinator
READ: How nature turned a failed communist plan into Bucharest's unique urban park
Justinien Tribillon, The Guardian, Jun 2016
READ: Paradise Lost: filmmaker Radu Ciornicic discusses Acasă, My Home
Karl Rozemeyer, Inside Film, Jan 2021
READ: Acasa, My Home Is A Powerful Exploration Of Bureaucracy And Life In The City
Asher Luberto, The Playlist, Jan 2021
Sun 7 Mar 2021
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Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian