Director Statement: Mateo Bendesky (Family Members)
I have been interested in making a movie about teenagers ever since I was one myself. I felt that there was something in that transitional and confusing world worth reviving in a film, since through that process, I would be able to better understand my own teenage years.
Taking that as a starting point, Family Members has two central topics: adolescence and mourning, two processes that I consider fundamental in the construction of identity and the sense of self. When I shot the film, I was interested in exploring adolescence as a middle state, as a waiting room for adulthood, where the mind and body are still in the height of their development but don’t have a definite direction yet.
Lucas and Gilda, the film’s protagonists, are not kids anymore but they’re not adults either. In some way, the only choice they have is waiting: waiting for the next day to arrive, for the transport strike to end, to be old enough to move alone, for someone to come and save them.
Lucas and Gilda are not typical teenagers. Lucas, obsessed with his body, finds in bodybuilding and contact fighting an escape valve for his sexuality. Gilda, on the other hand, just left a rehab center and is desperately trying to find meaning in the world surrounding her. This and the constant tension in their relationship made their eccentric adventure in an adult-less world even more interesting for me to portray.
As Lucas and Gilda try to understand themselves and each other, their environment becomes more and more hostile, as if it was exercising an opposite force of the same intensity than the one they construct to conquer their situation. Like two explorers in the fog, Gilda and Lucas move forward with firm steps, without knowing where they are going or why. This image, which defines mourning and adolescence at the same time, is why I decided to accurately portray the story of these siblings cinematically.
Opposed to the idea of protagonists finding the meaning of life in an instantaneous way, I was interested in showing how these kind of illuminations usually happen in everyday life: not as explosions of meaning, but more like brief gleams of hope in the middle of darkness that allow us to convince ourselves, even for a moment, that both our life and our world can always be better.
I hope you enjoy the film.