What would you do if you were given the chance to revisit the past? Director/screenwriter Christian Tafdrup explores this very question in his debut feature film Parents, which made its world premiere in the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival this week. In a cinematic world consumed by remakes and reboots, Tafdrup’s Parents reassures us that the industry still boasts gifted budding filmmakers who are creating artistically innovative work.
Weathered-weds Kjeld (Søren Malling; Forbrydelsen) and Vibeke (Bodil Jørgensen; The Idiots) both battle their inner fears and doubts after their son Esben (Anton Honik) flies the nest. Although bound together by their long and durable marriage, both Kjeld and Vibeke are both stuck in very alternate realities: Vibeke remains solidly in the present whereas Kjeld clings longingly to the past, ever seeking a cure for his troubled mind in the mementoes of their youth.
Kjeld’s soul-searching mission is put into play when he coaxes his wife to take up their old flat that has recently been refurbished and placed back on the market. What follows next is a jarring turn of events as the narrative takes a dive into a surrealist vortex leaving the audience slightly lost in time.
Although the extraordinarily dark humour and realistic performances tie in well with the dreamlike visuals, it is often unclear what type of film Tafdrup is trying to create. What it possesses substance, it also lacks in coherence, leaving viewers without a tether back to reality.
Some elements of the storyline are somewhat hard to swallow, but they are tasteful enough not to cause offence or outrage. Parents offers an engaging and insightful window into the inner workings of the psyche, showing how an overbearing attachment to the past can prevent you moving forward towards the future. This is truly intelligent filmmaking.
Parents does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about the Tribeca Film Festival 2016 visit here.
Watch the trailer for Parents here: