DocuMemories #6: Family Instinct

Posted November 23, 2012

The sixth installment of DocuMemories takes place this Monday, November 26th at Ragtag Cinema. This time we feature one of the most bizarre films ever to screen at True/False.

Family Instinct (T/F 2011) takes us to rural Latvia where Zanda anxiously awaits the release from prison of the man who is both her brother and the father of her children. In the interim she plays host to a motley assortment of tenants and neighbors who unleash a melee of drunken debauchery in her home. The staggering details are captured by virtuoso sound and camera work that seems too good to be true. Balanced perilously between tragedy and comedy, truth and fiction, art and exploitation, Family Instinct is a film not soon forgotten.

Prior to the film’s New York premiere director Andris Gauja spoke with Lela Scott MacNeil of Rooftop Films. Gauja cited the films of Lars Von Trier and Harmony Korine’s Gummo as important forerunners. He also explained a paradox of human life that he regards as the film’s core.

Rooftop Films: Describe the film for someone who hasn’t seen it.

Andris Gauja: At the first glance, it may look like a film about social issues – incest, alcoholism and poverty. But it is actually not about that. To me, it’s just a setting for a more general, more universal theme, it’s about a paradox that refers to everybody – our being trapped in our small ’social circle’, a ‘bubble’ that we live our lives in, and we would probably want to change our lives, fulfill our dreams, but it’s so hard to get out of our micro society we’re so used to be in. At the same time, I do not believe that the most part of audience will catch this message, most of people will probably watch this as ‘one of the most insane documentaries’ they have seen. But if the viewer is capable of identifying with the characters at least a little bit, I will be happy about it.

Gauja also spoke in-depth with Paul Sbrizzi of Hammer to Nail, but we’d recommend you see the film before reading this fascinating interview. You shouldn’t spoil even one of the astounding events that await you.

Tickets to DocuMemories are:

$8.50 for the general public.

$5 for Ragtag members and all T/F volunteers; if you’ve ever volunteered for T/F 2003-2012, dig out your volunteer pass and present it at the box office to receive the member discounted admission price of $5 for all films in the series (you must present your pass, sorry but there are thousands of you out there and we need some way to recognize your contribution to receive the discount)

FREE for current Guffman members and T/F 2013 Super Circle Passholders.

FREE on a space available basis for Ragtag, Uprise, 9th Street Video and T/F 2012-2013 Core Staff employees.

-Dan Steffen