Family Nest portrays the effect of the housing shortage on an extended working-class Budapest family. Forced to live together in a tiny apartment, the family effectively implodes, their daily frustrations and interpersonal conflicts amplified by their enforced proximity. Far from being a shelter and an oasis, a refuge from the world of work and social obligation, the apartment becomes a prison, a battleground. Without such a refuge, there is no way to become an independent human being, or to create a meaningful relationship. With no choice but to live with her husband at his parents´ apartment, Iren struggles to endure her father-in-law´s hostility while she searches in vain for a home where they might build a relationship together. The impossibility of this task is driven home by a scene in which Iren pays her weekly visit to the representative of the housing department. Iren pours out her anger and despair, pleading with the housing worker to take pit/ on her, while he insists that there is nothing he can do, that he is sympathetic to her suffering but that ahead of her in line are thousands of others in exactly the same situation. Tarr perfectly captures here the grim deadlock of the confrontation between a human being and a state bureaucracy. Without dehumanizing the housing worker, who is after all merely the face of a much larger mechanism, Tarr makes it clear that this man would not be able to do his job if he weren´t grown cold and hard.
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