Eat Sleep Die (Äta sova dö)

by James McNally on September 12, 2012

in Film Festivals,TIFF

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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