Vacation – Bradford International Film Festival

Vacation

On to day two, and this lunchbreak is spent in a lovely rural bit of Germany with one family, as their various generations gather for a bit of a”¦ vacation.

And that’s about all that actually happens, really – it’s not a film that relies on events. Instead, it’s a snapshot of a family at various stages of their lives and relationships.

This structure isn’t a concept I’m used to as a Hollywood child, so Vacation is a bit of a test for my attention span.

Married couple Laura and Paul and their two young children have come to stay with Laura’s mother and her partner in their house in the idyllic German countryside.

After mooching around with a face like a dog that swallowed a wasp for a bit, Laura decides that the beginning of the vacation is the perfect time to tell Paul that she’s been cheating on him and that they might break up.

Meanwhile, Laura’s mother Anna has been in contact with her former husband despite having a loving partner of her own, Laura’s grandmother is widowed and ill, Laura’s sister is carefree, single and can’t wait to escape, and Laura’s younger brother and his first girlfriend are busy buzzing around on a moped and telling each other they’ll never split up, despite the terrible examples before them.

The backdrop is the oppressive, end of summer fug that comes through the screen ”“ it’s a sunny picture, but the end is imminent, and the flies and the wind remind us constantly.

Shots are protracted and fixed, the whole thing feels like an uncomfortable, relentless family holiday, and by the end of it you won’t be able to get home fast enough. That’s a positive, by the way.

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