A Family Submerged

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A Family Submerged (Familia Sumergida)

Directed by María Alché

  • Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Norway 2018; 91 min
  • Original version: Spanish
  • Genre: Drama
    • Horizontes Award - San Sebastián FF


It’s summertime in Buenos Aires, and Marcela’s sister has suddenly passed away. As Marcela grieves, she must also face the painful process of purging her sister’s apartment of possessions, photographs, and family heirlooms. When Nacho, a young friend of her daughter’s, offers to help her, she finds unexpected comfort. Their relationship deepens into something more romantic as they go on road trips and adventures together. During these difficult and confusing days, Marcela’s past and present become intertwined and she begins to question her sense of self, as the imminence of everyday life pushes in.

Director's Statement

They say we are born into other people’s words, lines, plans, and that when we leave this world, we will remain in the words that will come after us. This film is a query into the continuous cycle in which we exist, we are complemented, and we become something else. When the lead, Marcela, loses her sister, a part of her tangible world is lost as well: the talks they used to have, their similar way of arranging objects at home, the shared anecdotes, the grimaces, the emotions. She is left with the void of now becoming the oldest member in her family. She experiences the beginning of a transformation. In a privileged state of quiet reflection, she is forced to acknowledge her own finiteness, which enables her to make more authentic choices. The film embarks on Marcela’s personal journey, as she encounters both a lack of meaning as well as an immediate urge to retrieve it in her every step. There is a transition between two spaces: the more familiar and everyday-related one, embodied by the typical chores and tasks involved with taking care of a family and working out problems alongside others, and the more vertiginous, cyclical, eternal one, related to questioning the meaning of things. This film comes from my urge to reflect upon the way we deal with grief, what gets transformed within us, how we spend our time, and about the vividness of living riskily.The narrative form is based on the unusual, the transitory, the continuation of situations that lead to unexpected consequences, where objects, dialogues, and spaces are linked as they push the group of people forward, like they were atoms drawn together and pulled apart. Each culture has to find a narrative form that matches its idiosyncrasy, and I believe that the nature of our national identity is related to some sort of transitory feeling, in which things can change any time. The characters in the film are conscious that they are here in transit, not really attached to anything and living in an inadequate world they constantly try to fit in, where old plans are cancelled as new ones emerge. I’m interested in provoking that sense of vertigo upon reality, in which the elements presented as essential become less meaningful to make way for new conflicts that were immersed but have started to surface surreptitiously.



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