Brothers Rath and Non live with their mother and their stepfather in a cosy suburban home. But this regular family, unlike the ones you see next door, are hiding many secrets. The always angry Rath, the elder son, is the one who cares for his bedridden mother. Their stepfather makes the effort to be the loving father of the young men but is dependant on the family savings to meet his needs. The youngest member of the family, Non, is the one who binds the family together. He is the link between his elder brother and stepfather, who are barely on speaking terms with each other. Rath has taken over the complete responsibility of their bedridden mother and does not like anyone else interfering in what he claims is his duty. So much so that he has denied Non even the permission to see her. As the story progresses, it reveals why the father and son are at loggerheads with each other. Can the two work out their differences? What happens when Non finally gets to see his sick mother? These are some of the questions that motherland will answer.
‘Motherland’ is a Student film by director Panya Zhu. Zhu takes on the very mature subject of misunderstandings between family members creating rifts in relationships and then progressing into more dangerous eventualities. Zhu effectively tells his story through long organic conversations between the family members. After each conversation, we come out knowing even more about the family and the back story that has shaped them the way they are. Smart camera work endears us to the characters, and by the end, we empathize with the helplessness of every character. The decision to avoid the use of music, almost entirely, is something that has also worked in its favour.
‘Motherland’ is a testimony to how relationships can deteriorate when everyone is involved in their world and consumed by their perspective. The film also shows how simple it is for misunderstandings to be cleared, only if we could just sit down and talk sensibly to the ones we love. ‘Motherland’ is a wonderful take on family relationships today with a sinister undercurrent that holds the promise of something even darker.