‘Listen’: Film Review | Venice 2020

An immigrant pair from Portugal battles social solutions for their children’s guardianship in Ana Rocha de Sousa’s function debut.

Venice Film Festival

The three children of an inadequate Portuguese pair (Lucia Moniz and Ruben Garcia) living in London are forcibly removed from their home by social services, questioning concerning responsible parenting and responsibility of care in director Ana Rocha de Sousa’s emotive attribute debut Listen.

Although the script by Rocha de Sousa, Paula Vaccaro, and Aaron Brookner attempts to be at the very least a bit well balanced, the rules-obsessed authorities do not come out of it well. Much informed through the unlucky family’s eyes, specifically those of the deaf center kid (a soulful Maisie Sly), this will not be winning recommendations from social workers’ unions and specialists in the field anytime soon.

On the other hand, Rocha de Sousa proficient direction of actors, the woozy cinematography by Hatti Beanland, and Tomas Baltazar’s skittish modifying add a vivid edginess that will make this Ken Loach-style social-issue dramatization catnip for festival designers.

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Moniz, probably best known beyond Portugal for being the things of Colin Firth’s love crazy, Actually (2003 ), supports the film effectively as Bela, the mommy at the story’s center. Passionately committed to her children, if a bit too likely towards shouting and dramatization, Bela works as a cleaner to supplement the weak earnings her spouse Jota (Garcia) brings home.

Good with the youngsters, Jota sketches his family members frequently on scraps of paper. He has some laboring tasks that we just never see him doing. Instead, he spends a lot of time residence with child Jessy (played by twins Lola and Kiki Weeks) while Bela functions.

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Judging by the fluently British accent of their earliest kid, very early teen Diego (James Felner), the family members have been in the U.K. for a long time. They have their deaf little girl Lu (Sly) enlisted at a school where she is being instructed with sign language, which the remainder of the household likewise utilizes to interact with her.

Considered that in the opening scene, Bela advises Jota to be prepared for the see from the social worker at 4 o’clock that day– and do not be late because you know what the British resemble regarding preparation– it is clear that social solutions have been keeping track of the household for some time. That is not unexpected, considering that Bela has to shoplift a loaf of bread for the morning meal.

At the same time, her connection with Lu’s educator (Susanna Capellaro) is testy due to her constant delay dropping Lu off or selecting her up– as well as the fact that they have not organized new listening devices for her when the one she has broken.

When the college notifications bruises that Bela and Jota can not explain, all three children are suddenly taken a right into treatment. No parent might see the scene without feeling a little sick, as several social workers, led by one client, however insistent primary policeman (Brian Bovell), and assorted law enforcement agent go into the house with full authority as take the crying, distraught kids away.

It is a distressing scene that is persuasively unfurled, recommending the filmmakers have studied right into the treatments for such situations. However, after that, the drama stacks the sympathies up against the state, probably a little too much in an initiative to maintain us on the family members’ side.

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For example, the social workers terminate Bela and Jota’s visitations when they start talking in Portuguese or use the indication to interact with Lu since there are no translators for either language existing to guarantee that the parents are not plotting to take the kids. Moreover, as it happens, that is virtually what they are preparing to do, with recommendations from previous social workers transformed rogue representative Ann Payne (Sophia Myles).

This may be an exact representation of the type of point that takes place each day; however, as created, these last-act story developments feel somewhat compelled to drive the tale forward and produce tension.

Much more significantly, the awkward review of institutional misconduct makes you realize precisely how scrupulously filmmakers like Loach and his average screenwriting partner Paul Laverty or the Dardenne bros labor to obtain the information good movies concerning broken systems like I, Daniel Blake or The Unknown Girl, specifically.

Like those filmmakers, director Rocha de Sousa below wishes to make specific the audience stays on the protagonists’ side. Nevertheless, if you stack the deck as well hard, the whole residence of cards risks collapse.

Venue: Venice Film Festival (Horizons)
Cast: Lucia Moniz, Ruben Garcia, Sophia Myles, Maisie Sly, James Felner, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Lola Weeks, Kiki Weeks, Brian Bovell.
Production: A Pinball London, Bando aParte production
Director: Ana Rocha de Sousa
Screenwriter: Ana Rocha de Sousa, Paula Vaccaro, Aaron Brookner
Producers: Paula Vaccaro, Rodrigo Areias, Aaron Brookner
Director of photography: Hatti Beanland
Editor: Tomas Baltazar
Production designer: Belle Mundi
Costume designer: Filipa Fabrica, Belle Mundi
Music: Nessi Gomes
Music supervisor: Frederic Schndler
Casting: Heather Basten
Sales: Magnolia Pictures International

References:

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