The winner of Berlin’s GOLDEN BEAR Award, “Childs Pose” is Romania’s official Oscar submission. Călin Peter Netzer’s dark tragicomedy “Childs Pose” is a study in casebook study of toxic mother-son relationships. Domineering mom Cornelia-Luminita Gheorghiu (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”, “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”) exploits her married son’s tragic car accident to regain control of his life.
A characteristically new Romanian realism enhances the dark script by Că Peter Netzer and Razvan Radulescu (“The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”). Cornelia, an upper-class middle- aged blond, laments Barbu’s failure to call of visit to all who will listen. As she tells galpal Ruta about Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache-“The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”) pushing her out of a car, we begin to understand she is speaking about her grown son, not a boyfriend. Disappointed by life, Cornelia runs roughshod over her husband Aurelian (Florin Zamfirescu) and Barbu’s live in girlfriend Carmen (Ilinca Goia).
Barbu is conspicuously absent from her lavish birthday party. The arch script exposes the corrupt inter-connected upper class at Cornelia’s party. Even the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Relations appears (introduced by Cornelis as the Secretary of “Public Relations”.) It seems nothing in the New Romania is beyond cagey Cornelia’s touch. One liner filled gossip abounds. There is a joke about a society doctor charged with malpractice, forgiven by his ritzy friends. When Barbu is charged with vehicular manslaughter for running down a child, Cornela puts all her connections in play, berating than bribing the police, witnesses, Lab technicians, even the victim’s working class family. Overindulged Barbu leaves the dirty work to his mother and girlfriend, refusing to attend the funeral or show contrition, but eventually his hostility and resentment boil over and he takes a first step towards independence. Netzer peppers the film with wry, telling details.