While the police fill in the paperwork after her twentysomething son has run over and killed a teenager on the road at night, a domineering, fur-coated mum complains that they’re ganging up on her baby. Such is the worldview of Cornelia Keneres (Luminita Gheorghiu) – the tyrannical matriarch in this Romanian drama which won the Golden Bear at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival. Questions of justice and morality come second to her unreturned emotional attachment to her only son – who, on the evidence here, is a weak-willed bully only his mum could love.
The drama follows Keneres’s efforts to rig the investigation and the son’s attempts to wriggle free of her control. And in case we don’t know all this is intended as a portrait of Romania’s awful, corrupt nouveaux riches, the heavy-handed camerawork endlessly signals its disapproval. ‘Child’s Pose’ plays its thematic cards far too early, but it’s sustained by Gheorghiu’s compelling central turn as the endlessly self-deluding grande dame.