Apart from the filth she has to clean up, Manana's new apartment is characterized by its two balconies. Several shots observe the strong winds blowing outside the open doors. Some don't show anyone, just the open space and the gusts. It's a climb to get there but she finds her freedom and fresh air.
For that she has fled her marriage and her parents' cramped apartment. There she lived with her two elderly parents, her husband Soso, layabout computer nerd son Lasho, daughter Nino and her unfaithful husband Vakho. Manana's mother still rules that roost. The flat is so cramped two generations keep their clothes in a wardrobe in Lasho's room, into which he now moves his pregnant new wife.
Then there's the music. Several scenes overflow with the beautiful harmonies, emotions and community of the family and friends singing. I guess that's Georgia: a warm people always ready to burst into polished song. The men sing, the women work.
These scenes warm us with the characters' intense bonds — whether family or just friends — but to Manana that warmth is smothering. Like the intensity of her family's dynamic, it only increases her need to escape, to live on her own, to be free, to enjoy her preferred ritual of the same classical music. And here she works for herself.
Most of the film follows the mature teacher's resolve to live her own life apart from her family and their demands upon her. The patriarchal culture — as expressed by her husband, her older brother, her son-in-law — can't bend its mind to understand, leave alone to accept that. Her brother's friends threaten Soso when they think he's a stranger courting her.
Manana's escape takes new significance when she learns Soso had a long affair with another woman, who bore him a son. Soso loved her passionately but couldn't bring himself to leave Manana for her.
After learning of this betrayal, at her class reunion, the reluctant Manana is coaxed into singing. She chooses a ballad ruing a false love, so even here she's expressing herself not submitting to the male coaxer. As in the solo she sings in her new home, she sings through her grief, in a community but not bound within it. Her tremulous, poignant, personal solos contrast to the men's chorales.
The last shot is of Soso approaching her at her open window. He has inferred she knows of his compromised past. "Who are you?" she has asked. The film stops short of revealing their conversation, their future relationship. It's enough that she is at her open window and he now has to come to her. Now he moves without the swagger or self-dramatizing with which he earlier responded to her escape.
Despite the tensions in this drama of dysfunction, this actually is a happy family. The title seems ironic, but, ironically, it's true. Everyone cares and is concerned for each other — to the point of intrusion. They also come to accept each other's differences, as we see when the family embraces Lasho's bride, Kitsi,. She spurned the name her family gave her but now accepts her new family and function.
My Happy Family
My Happy Family
In a patriarchal society, an ordinary Georgian family lives with three generations under one roof. All are shocked when 52-year-old Manana decides to move out from her parents' home and live alone. Without her family and her husband, a journey into the unknown begins.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
July 11, 2021 at 01:04 AM