BRIEF HISTORY OF A FAMILY (Sydney FF 2024) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

There is a throbbing undercurrent in Brief History of a Family that silently grants this family drama the tonal energy of a thriller, reaching almost Hanekeian heights at moments. But it is also distinctly Chinese; mentioning the spectre of the country’s one child policy that ran from 1979 to 2015 to help curb a population explosion as a kind of omnipresent geopolitical factor that adds tragedy to this vision of an imperfect family’s search for perfection. It might not have the climactic whistles and bells of Parasite or Saltburn, but in this instance anything else would feel almost dishonest; this is a careful, considered film of enormous intelligence and emotional resonance.

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