The first batch of films to screen at this year's Berlinale International Film Festival suggests a single thread stitching the human race together: its utter inaptness to handle emotion. Soul-crushing restraint and reckless violence seem to be our only two strategies for surviving sentiment. This is just as true for the pathologically butch fraternity brothers of Goat as it is for the queer adolescent murderer from I, Olga Hepnarová. And in Benedek Fliegauf's remarkable Lily Lane, a young mother can't quite cope with separation, from her ex-husband and from her parents, which shapes her relationship to her seven-year-old son in eerily provocative ways.
Rebeka (Angéla Stefanovics) mothers Dani (Bálint Sótonyi) with the no-nonsense storytelling wit of a witch, whether she's making up horror tales or refusing to sugarcoat the truth about, say, the large substance he touches when they scatter his grandmother's ashes (she says it must be her vertebra). No wonder the kid's father, who only speaks to her through a video-messaging program's text function, tells her she should “just read from a book.” If the mother's desperation looks sublimated into the fictive tales she tells her son for most of the film, perhaps not that fictive after all, we eventually watch the return of the repressed explode before our eyes—which, by then, have become the eyes of the child.