In the Family
Saturday, Sep 29, 2012 1:00 PM CDT
Facets Cinematheque, Chicago, IL
"What a courageous first feature this is, a film that sidesteps shopworn stereotypes and tells a quiet, firm, deeply humanist story"
In his remarkably assured directorial debut, Patrick Wang revitalizes the world of independent American film with In the Family, which delivers a heartfelt story woven around child custody, "two-Dad" families, parental loss, and interracial relations. The film opens with the daily routines of an ordinary family in Tennessee, where Joey (Patrick Wang) and Cody (Trevor St. John) are raising their precocious son Chip. The narrative shifts after tragedy forces Joey to raise his son alone and Joey's grief is compounded when he discovers that Cody's sister has been granted custody of Chip. This unforeseen legality unravels Joey's tenuous acceptance in Cody's family, which becomes further complicated by racial distrust.
Wang patiently interweaves flashback sequences that reveal the complex nature of Cody's relationship with Joey, their relationship with Cody's family, and Joey's relationship to his orphaned past. The legal system, social prejudice, U.S. Southern culture, queer sociality, and interracial love are just some of the major topics underlying the dense narrative of Wang's masterpiece. However, they are never explicitly addressed nor incorporated into a politics of identity and civil rights but rather framed as a part of our complex everyday reality. In the Family is respectful to its characters and their way of living through the unexpected happenings of their life.
Directed by Patrick Wang, U.S.A., 2011, 169 mins.
Facets Film Dialogue---Filmmaker Patrick Wang will be here in person for a Q&A on Sunday, September 9th