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‘Acasa, My Home’ review: Sundance winner is a beautiful and poignant watch

Beautiful and alarming.

Acasa, My Home follows the Enache family of Romania. For nearly two decades, the group have lived in an abandoned water reservoir outside of the capital city. They have lived in a hut, caught the meals they eat, and live a generally peaceful life. This all changes when the place they have made their home is earmarked to become a public national park. The Enaches must now move back and conform to a society they had left behind.

The film is visually stunning (it was awarded the Special Jury Award for Cinematography at this year’s Sundance Film Festival). Director Radu Ciorniciuc does a great job of showing off the differences between the two differing worlds of Acasa, My Home. This is most dramatically seen in an early shot which shows just how close the family lives to the bustling city despite being completely separate from it. The documentary is filled with moments like these. Each time depicts the magnitude of the change that is occuring.

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Acasa, My Home also does an excellent job of illustrating the generation gap and how people deal with change. There is a divide amongst the family regarding their relocation to the big city. The parents are having difficulty adjusting to a life they turned their backs on. This is more than just about the old guard being unwilling to accept change. Some of the nine children are also unhappy with one of the younger ones stating how even the food tasted better in their previous home.

The difference in how the change is accepted is punctuated by an incredibly powerful ending. In a documentary that compares the two very distinct lifestyles and deals with issues of conformity, it is a satisfying end to the family’s journey. Acasa, My Home is constantly asking questions through the siblings. Living off the grid may be idyllic, but what are the long term effects on the children? Does living in society lead to more hostility and agitation? The documentary does not answer all of these questions – nor does it attempt to. Instead, it tells a moving story of gentrification and its effects.

A young woman facing a major change in her life

acasa
‘Acasa, My Home’ review: Sundance winner is a beautiful and poignant watch
Acasa, My Home
A challenging documentary that is beautiful and funny. The pros and cons of gentrification have been touched on many times. None
Reader Rating1 Vote
10
Gorgeous camerawork
Gripping story
Ending purposely leaves unanswered questions that may bother some
8
Good

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