Busan 2013 Review: MISS VIOLENCE Is The Hardest Watch Of The Year

There is something terrifying about the uncanny nature of Miss Violence, a film that exists in mundane reality but for its attributes is very much alien to our world.

A Greek household reacts so strangely to the sudden suicide of their daughter on her birthday. The remaining family consists of grandmother, grandfather, a woman, three daughters and a son, all of varying age. The grandfather is also the carer of the woman, taking care of her two children so he also occupies a quasi-patriarch role. It is an odd composition of family that continually unnerves and upsets. Eventually the cause of the suicide is revealed and the intentions of each dysfunctional member of this horrible household becomes known.

The film, like many others of its recent ilk is a post-bankruptcy statement, and part of this traumatised new wave of Greek cinema. However for all the metaphors of daughters, responsibility, selling out and compromising Miss Violence has more in common with the initial weird wave film Dogtooth. It is in fact far harder to watch than Dogtooth as this family has no values, twisted or otherwise.

The cinematography and sound design is maddening, the camera focuses on a dimly lit hallway or a pastel wall while something is happening off-screen. The camera is sometimes static, focusing on a particular room of the house as family members pass through it. Other-times it revolves around the most uncomfortable dinner table scenes in recent film memory. It all feels completely off-centre.

Their behaviours are calculated and rote. The children walk in unison, almost marching, the woman always smiles but it barely registers on her bitter soulless stare. The television and buzz of generic appliance overwhelms the forbidden zones of the house, places the father has controlled and forced his power on everyone else.

Flashes of violence and horrific moments gel in the memory, amidst the cream coloured days of this rigorous family unit, something is terribly amiss. Miss Violence is not an easy watch but it is an extremely compelling one.
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