Eat Sleep Die (Äta sova dö)

Eat Sleep Die (Äta sova dö)

Eat Sleep Die (Äta sova dö) (Director: Gabriela Pichler): Grounded in the director’s own exper­i­ence grow­ing up in a work­ing-class immig­rant fam­ily in a small Swedish town, Eat Sleep Die is a gritty and affect­ing debut. Using a non-pro­fes­sional cast (includ­ing her own mother), Pichler paints a por­trait of work­ing-class life that feels doc­u­ment­ary-like in its real­ism, but with real warmth between its char­ac­ters.

Raša lives with her father in a work­ing-class town and works at a veget­able pro­cessing plant. She’s a hard worker and well-liked by her col­leagues, but when the plant announces lay­offs are com­ing, she’s keenly aware that her Montenegrin back­ground may make it dif­fi­cult for her to find other employ­ment. When her father is forced to relo­cate tem­por­ar­ily to Norway to find work, she hides the news of her lay­off from him as long as pos­sible.

Nermina Lukac’s per­form­ance as Raša is remark­able. Playing this rough tom­boy with a her­culean work ethic, she’s noth­ing short of mag­netic, espe­cially in her reac­tions to the drudgery of unem­ploy­ment and the inan­ity of the local job centre’s efforts to help. But the film’s best scenes are the ones por­tray­ing the tough but tender bond between father and daugh­ter, and between Raša and her friend Nicki.

Pichler’s film reminds us of the dig­nity of work, no mat­ter how seem­ingly menial it looks. It also illus­trates the dig­nity of work­ing class com­munit­ies, and how the decisions of busi­ness­men have a real effect on indi­vidual fam­il­ies and com­munit­ies. There are parts of the film that tend to drag, but I’m glad that Pichler ends the film as she begins it, with a party. Raša is sur­roun­ded by fam­ily and friends singing, drink­ing and toast­ing to her suc­cess. It’s a small but needed meas­ure of hope for a per­son we’ve come to admire.

Here is the Q&A with dir­ector Gabriela Pichler from after the screen­ing.

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Duration: 11:11


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