Child’s Pose

A look at class warfare in modern day Romania as seen through the eyes of one bougie, overbearing mother.
February 13, 2014

Mommie Dearest: Luminita Gheorghiu in Child’s Pose

Time Investment: 112 min.
Return on Investment: 95 min.

It’s the little things devoted mother Cornelia Keneres does to her adult son, Barbu, that hit the hardest in Calin Pater Netzer’s new film Child’s Pose (Zeitgeist Films). The way she interrogates his maid to see what he is reading. Or the way she calls him “child” in front of others. Or how she tries to get him to change his statement after he accidentally runs over a young boy. Ok, so maybe we can’t exactly relate to that last one. But Cornelia’s obsession with trying to figure out “where she went wrong” means she’ll go to any lengths to mold her son in her own elite image.

Yet another fantastic entry in the so-called Romanian New Wave (seriously, some amazing films have come out of the Eastern Bloc since 2001), Netzer’s drama uses Cornelia and Barbu’s story to comment on the major socio-economic problems facing modern-day Bucharest. The selfish Cornelia, who arrives to the rural crime scene straight from the opera—and decked out in her finest furs—calls in all the favors she can from the corrupt politicians in her rolodex. She even attempts to bribe an eyewitness. The only people she can’t buy are the victim’s family. In the harrowing final scene she fakes her best tears and asks the family not to press charges. “Parents find their accomplishments in their children,” the victim’s father says. Doesn’t Cornelia know it? To make Barbu happy, she’d be willing to take down an entire class of people. What mother wouldn’t?