Blood of My Blood (Sangue do Meu Sangue)
Sometimes after I see a film I make extensive notes and return to it later, depending on how many films I have on my list to review and their priority that later could be a few hours, a day or even a month later. In the case of Blood of My Blood it's the longer side of that scale because I really didn't know what more to write about it other than my notes, and I kept putting it to the back of my list. It's a shame because there are some good points to it, it's just that they didn't win out.
The film is indeed slow and does take a long time developing the characters and telling their story and while I know this will appeal to a certain audience I am, unfortunately, not in that group and that meant I struggled with the length of time it took to move forward. Still, that said I can appreciate that the attraction is that it doesn't race forward and tell too much too quickly and the development of the characters allows for a closer connection and understanding of some of them.
It doesn't do what so many films do and try to deliver the salient points too quickly often through convoluted dialogue of a character offering summaries to cover events not filmed or edited out; trying to explain what has happened or will happen in order for the audience to pick it up. Here, with Blood of My Blood, the film is far more organic and at times feels as though it is taking a slightly documentary style allowing the characters to tell their stories on screen in their own time.
Through this style it does build some strong character dynamics that deliver interesting relationships, one scene I particularly remember was around the mother and how she deals with the pressures of all the other family members' problems as she began to deal with her own problems and the weight of everyone else's that did draw me in and engage me much more.
There are other scenes like this that drew me into the film and the characters, but for the most part I did find it a struggle to stay with it, and for the payoff we receive at the end of the film the journey to get there hardly seems justified.
It's not that I expected something more dramatic or exciting from it, after all I was expecting a family drama, it's just felt that so much was left unexplored and unresolved something which is perhaps another reflection of real life.
I was engaged by some of the character journeys and what they were doing, particularly by that of the security guard and his rather poor going nowhere life living with his mother and with his girlfriend's relationship. It was interesting to see how he developed and what choices he was going to make as his understanding of what was happening around him grew. It's as though he began the film as a naive boy and had his eyes opened to the reality of the world through his connection with this family.
I wasn't so sure about the character of the mother though, although I mentioned one strong scene earlier on overall she was much less interesting and less of a lynch pin than I had expected although when they began to explore her own relationship I thought it did begin to promise something more. It didn't deliver though.
Performances seem pretty natural and real, adding to that feeling of an often documentary style capturing real life, and there is an interesting use of foreground and background layers within shots that reflects this style of real life interaction in a group. This would often show different moments in relationships being played out in different layers in front of the camera and the film asking the audience to concentrate to keep up with everything that was happening. This was cleverly constructed as the two or three threads would play out with the camera moving or focussing on the different layers to capture the important points for the audience, it meant you could try and concentrate on them all or let you be guided through by the camera.
This style of filming did catch my eye and I noticed it whenever it occurred and I really did think it was a clever choice and helped engage me with what was happening. At the same time though it was making me think more of the filming style rather than the story, but it was very cleverly utilised and stood out well for me.
Blood of My Blood is slow film that really does take its time seemingly with little agenda other than that of relaying the events of a period of time in the lives of this family of characters. It's definitely a film that will appeal to a large audience however and to make this clear for those reading the review that group doesn't include me. That said I did find quite a bit to capture me, just not enough to keep me there throughout.
Personally I would have liked to have seen more from the characters and their stories, a little less following them through more mundane and normal moments of their lives and more of a development of a story arc that led to something where we felt more of a payoff for the time we'd spent with them.
There were some well filmed scenes including the use of foreground and background action at the same time, and overall the film looked as though it was almost a fly on the wall documentary which had managed to capture some stronger moments from an interesting family.