I wrote about Latvian director Andris Gauja’s mostly-but-not-entirely-unstaged documentary after its international debut at IDFA this fall for indieWIRE, saying:
The fact that Zanda has had two children with her brother Valdis is presented immediately and in the most matter of fact manner in Gauja’s film. This hardly seems to be the main problem faced by the poor, rural Latvians in FAMILY INSTINCT. Valdis is in jail, from which he sends his sister increasingly disturbing and threatening letters. Zanda shares her small home not only with her kids but with other family members and neighbors prone to drinking, disruptive arguments, and violence. A quiet, but also alcoholic, neighbor might be her salvation, but he fears retribution from Valdis, and Zanda fears losing her kids. Stark and at times painful to watch, but always gripping.
Note: Gauja will be present for a post-screening Q&A before the event’s afterparty.