The nuclear family as the “nucleus” of society also plays a role in the programme with regards to the crisis in its ability to reproduce. Shelley by Ali Abbasi seems to enact the horror of the nuclear family as a genre piece and brings to mind the devil children of the late 1970s...
Rosemary's Baby and so on... Yes, but this is a very modern couple, intellectual middle-class, nice people, everything organic. Though it is indeed a horror film, it expresses many truths about Europe. The couple has retreated from the active urban world, the woman has had to have a hysterectomy, they have to come to terms with that, they want to refocus. The surrogacy with the Romanian home-help happens by chance. Nevertheless, the film shows that the desire for a future – symbolised by the motif of the child – is not without its problems.
We also have completely different perspectives on this subject matter: Inside the Chinese Closet by Sophia Luvarà shows a man and a woman, she is a lesbian, he’s gay, who are both forced by their families to get married. For one thing, to complete the picture because the parents can’t survive without a wedding photo; for another, because the children also constitute a kind of medical insurance and pension fund. It is absolutely impossible not to comply with this model. Nowadays, the Chinese are turning to America, recreating Christian churches, putting on white wedding dresses – all just for this wedding photo. An obsession with a Western role model even though this model hasn’t been in existence for that long. Basically, the nuclear family is an invention of early industrialisation. The characters in Inside the Chinese Closet suffer under this concept and try a thousand different tricks to remain themselves whilst, at the same time, trying to avoid disappointing their parents.
The documentary Europe, She Loves by Jan Gassmann continues this topic, right?
Yes, Gassmann chose his protagonists because they all have something in common: mummy, daddy, a little home. This test-bed of industrialisation and the social fantasy that a man and a woman need a little nest. And everything is at their disposal, from drugs to sex, from IKEA to alternative modes of living. The characters are just trying to live their lives. They are all very friendly, positive people. This is shown in a nicely laconic way, without resorting to manipulation, focussing simultaneously on these four little nests in four far-flung locations on this botched-together continent.