reflection on parental responsibility

The films in today’s competition at the 79th Venice Film Festival confront the theme of parental responsibility, that of the separated parents of a troubled teenager in The Son of Florian Zeller and that of a woman from Incipient motherhood before the court case of a mother who lets her daughter of a few months die in Saint Omer by Alice Diop.

With The Son French playwright Florian Zeller continues his “family” trilogy after his multi-award winning El padrewith whom he made his directorial debut, and the piece la mere that he still needs to take to the cinema.

The film tells the story of a successful lawyer, the separated father of a teenager with behavioral problems, who has just had a child with his new partner. Everything smiles at him, even a promising political career, until his son, who has not been able to accept his parents’ divorce, reappears in his life.

Unconsciously manipulating his parents’ feelings of guilt, the young man will end up unleashing a series of events that will culminate in tragedy.

Zeller, at 43, the most important playwright of his generation together with Yasmina Reza, describes the difficulty of being parents and shows this couple that without seeing (or not wanting to see) the abyss into which their son is falling, they contribute to push it.

Using once again the contribution of another important playwright, Christopher Hamptonwho has written the dialogues in English, Zeller conceives an extremely rigorous theatrical mechanism and directs a superb quartet of actors with a sure hand: Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern as the parents, Vanessa Kirby as the new wife who sees disaster coming but cannot prevent it, and above all Zen McGrath, barely 20 years old, in his first important role who interprets with great self-absorption the difficult role of the title.

The brief appearance of Anthony Hopkins, awarded the Oscar precisely for El padre, as the father of the protagonist of whom he is repeating the same mistakes.

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