Family Portrait (2023) Locarno Film Festival 2023

August 4th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir/Wri: Lucy Kerr | US Drama

In these unusual times of fake news and false memories, can a photo still be trusted to reflect the truth in capturing a moment in time? This is the question writer director Lucy Kerr ponders in her slim but intriguing feature debut premiering in the Filmmakers of the Present strand at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival

A relaxed day in the countryside unfolds as an extended family finds themselves gathered together at the start of Covid. The idea to capture the moment in a family portrait gets relaid to the back burner when a mother goes missing  and her daughter decides to investigate. 

Driven forward by a busy ambient soundscape the bosky opening scene soon gives way to the spacious wooden clad interiors of the Shaker dwelling where a salad lunch is being prepared. The conversation returns to the proposed photo but then a sudden death in the family gives rise to more endless speculation and the portrait is once again forgotten.

Is this family really as contented as they would have us believe. A needling score seems to indicate otherwise as the film moves into more unsettling territory as time and space become one big enigma turning the family portrait into a solemn rite of passage. MT


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