Douglas Buck's FAMILY PORTRAITS exposes the fear, the fetishes, and the festering behind the bland façade of suburban USA. In immaculate middle class households, repressed husbands and fathers dominate their dependents like jailers, neglected wives and mothers slash themselves to feel alive, and vulnerable children are left to inherit the legacy of abuse.
Acclaimed writer-director Douglas Buck (who remade Brian DePalma's SISTERS in 2006) lays bare the unspoken horrors lurking behind the bland surface of the suburban dream in his 2003 anthology film FAMILY PORTRAITS: A TRILOGY OF AMERICA, a waking nightmare in three acts. In "Cutting Moments" (1997), a neglected housewife (Nica Ray, daughter of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE director Nicholas Ray), desperate for attention and hoping against hope to distract her impassive husband (Gary Betsworth) from turning his long-repressed sexual inclinations towards their young son, attempts to spice up her marriage in the bedroom; when her clumsy play at seduction fails, a wave of crippling guilt and overwhelming self-disgust drives her to an act of unimaginable self-harm. In "Home" (1998), the now middle-aged son (Betsworth) of a controlling and sexually abusive father takes his boyhood lessons from Scripture and the example of his brutal upbringing to a horrific new level to his unsuspecting wife and child. In "Prologue" (2003), a young woman (Sally Conway), hospitalized for a year following an assault that left her paralyzed and gruesomely mutilated, returns to her home town to confront the seeming pillar of the community (William Stone Mahoney) who attacked her and to force the serial predator toward a long overdue reckoning. "These scenes are almost unwatchable but have a curious, grotesque power"" wrote THE NEW YORK TIMES of FAMILY PORTRAITS in 2004 while LA WEEKLY declared this trilogy of human terrors "the most chilling portrait of the loss of humanity in the manicured lawns of Middle America ever made."
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