Visions du Réel Review: A Holy Family


Families are complicated units. Created through generations of complex and often contradictory interrelationships and experiences. Not all children are the same. Some want to fly the nest at the first opportunity while others will never leave. Preferring the safety and security staying provides. For many though, there’s simply isn’t a choice. It’s a case of poverty, unemployment and intolerance at home or the chance to make a better life for yourself somewhere else.

When filmmaker Elvis A-Liang Lu gets a phone call from his elderly mother, his first response is to assume that his parents are just after money again. However, when she starts to talk about making plans for their deaths, he makes the trip home. His father is a gambling addict whose health is bad. His brother is a penniless medium. A Holy Family follows the journey of the director back to his birthplace, which he first left twenty years ago.

A Holy Family is a quiet and moving portrait of a family that, despite all their problems, is deeply connected. While acrimony skulks just below the surface, it’s clear that there’s a great deal of love in this house. As the filming progresses, A-Liang goes on a voyage of self-discovery. Gradually reconciling past events with current circumstances.  There’s so much warmth in A Holy Family. Blood is sometimes thicker than water.

A Holy Family screens at Visions du Réel.

Previous Live Review: Bright Eyes/Christian Lee Hutson - Capitol Theatre, Portchester, NY 06.04.2022
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