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Watched: 10 February

A well-acted Georgian film by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß, in which the central character Manana (Ia Shugliashvili) decides that she has had enough of living with her family and moves out of her home and into her own apartment. She is seeking more space, both physical and mental, and it’s soon obvious why that is the case. As well as her husband Soso and her children, various grandparents and others also co-habit in a fairly cramped house, and by the looks of things barely a topic goes by without everyone having their say on the matter; it would seem that years of this have combined with Manana’s general feeling of being underappreciated, as well as her will to assert (or possibly reassert) her independence. The act of moving out of the family home is considered shameful within Georgian society, so much of the best drama comes once Manana has flown the nest, with various family members reacting incredulously; rumours begin to circulate that Soso has been physically abusing Manana, because a few of the characters can think of no other logical explanation for her decision. Though My Happy Family is very much in a minor key, there’s not a single duff note from the cast and the interplay between characters is well worth studying. (***½)