Sunday, 21 October 2012

LFF: Eat, Sleep, Die Review

Director/Writer: Gabriela Pichler

Starring: Nermina Lukac, Milan Dragisic, Jonathan Lampinen, Peter Fält

Plot: Rasa (Lukac) and her father (Dragisic) are teetering on the edge of poverty, with work meaning everything to their survival. Once Rasa is laid off from her factory she must search and search for new employment before and her and her ill father lose their house and ability to live.

Eat, Sleep, Die begins with a thunderously loud synth beat and the flash of “Eat”, “Sleep”, and “Die”, very reminiscent of Gasper Noe’s title sequences. The first scene has a similar quality to something like Irreversible (though with less pizzazz), introducing a tone that is quickly lost. The remaining 100 minutes consist of long, raw scenes following the main character, Rasa.

To follow Rasa throughout the whole film requires empathy which is not always apparent with the brash young woman. Nevertheless, however she appears to the audience, there is always a reason to support her action. Rasa is a tough and caring person whose ambition in life is nothing more than providing money for her and her father to live on – an admirable if saddening set of motivations. The film speaks of the plights of race and immigration that lead to problems in employability, along with issues of economy and the difficulty of getting by.

Rasa is constantly faced with monotony and an assembly line of everyday events and issues, although it seldom distresses her. She is a unique role-model in contemporary cinema – always trying to work even when the prospect is fruitless. Audience’s pathos with what Rasa and her father have to go through (alongside characters in a similar situation) is profound. By the end, bitterness is all that can be tasted yet a sweet sentimentality has evolved since perhaps viewing Rasa as a boisterous youth. Nermina Lukac, only an upcoming actress and not that experienced with acting, gives a powerful performance with direction equally accomplished from the additionally inexperienced director, Pichler.

It is a long chronicle of Rasa’s tedious livelihood but has moments where new paths are seemingly opening, giving the audience something to hope for. It is, in summary, a tale of hope and even though it’s never realised, Rasa’s story is uplifting and poignant. The film closes on the prospect of struggle juxtaposed with spirit; an accurate representation of life and the wonders and problems of it all.

By Piers McCarthy. Also posted on LiveForFilms

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