Family Instinct

Director: Andris Gauja
DOP: Aleksandrs Grebņevs
Producer: Madara Melberga

Characters: Zanda, Valdis, Andulis, Oskars and Dzon

Sales: Andrea Hock
Autlook Filmsales GmbH

Family Instinct is a film about incest - social taboo and a violation of religious norms. Zanda is a 28-year-old woman, trying to survive with her two children in a god-forsaken Latvian village. Valdis is serving a year's sentence in prison for physically abusing them. Family Instinct follows Zanda for the duration of that year as she tries to cope with the hardships of poverty and the amorous of frequently drunken attentions of several local men. During the year local community forces her to make a difficult choice: to stay with Valdis or with her children. Film is structured around the impending release of Valdis; it is in fact a heartbreakingly touching and unflinching look at the lives of several people that live on the extreme margins of Latvian society. The film provides extraordinarily intimate footage of this group of vulnerable people, drawing you into a claustrophobic but compelling world that few viewers will have ever experienced. Family Instinct is at times shocking and heartbreaking in its depiction of life on the edge, but its central characters nevertheless display a wonderful sense of humour and even optimism in the face of terrible adversity.

IDFA Competition
for Mid-Length
Silver Eye
The winner of
Mid-Length documentary

Premiere: September 23. 2010.

61 min