2011 Indy Int'l Film FestivalRating: 4 of 5 yaps
If the Seed Doesn’t Die
“If the Seed Doesn’t Die” is a touching tale of how far a parent will go for his children, no matter how hold they get. Sinisa Dragin does a wonderful job crafting a story that is both visually and intellectually stimulating.
The story begins with Ina (Ioana Barbu), a Serbian man setting out to recover his son’s body from a morgue in Romania, and Nicu (Dan Condurache), a Romanian man searching for his missing daughter. Both men meet on the river Danube as they start their respective journeys. While together, they recount the legend of peasants who unsuccessfully tried to move an old church to their village during a time when building their own was prohibited.
Despite those parallel stories, “If the Seed Doesn’t Die” places a little more emphasis on Ina’s story, and this is the right choice. Ina’s journey to recover his son’s body is touching, funny and emotionally draining. While Nicu’s plotline is engaging, his story just isn’t as strong as Ina’s.
One of the strongest scenes that stood for Ina’s story is him finally down the body of his son and its storage in a family’s freezer. Don’t ask me why the body is in the family’s deep freeze, but it is. After a man offers to sell the body back, Ina, his godson, Prie (Milos Tanaskovic), and a taxi driver (Alexandru Bindea) sneak into the family’s home and steal it back. Later that night, Ina tends to his son and prepares him to be buried. This scene shows the love a parent has for his child, even in death. You can sense the sadness Ina feels and, at the same time, a sort of peace that comes with preparing his son for burial.
Unfortunately, Nicu’s story lacks that same emotional punch. As his search for his daughter progresses, it’s easy to feel for him; I couldn’t imagine having a child missing. However, when he does finally find his daughter, it isn’t the happy ending for which one would hope. I don’t want to give away what happens, but it’s much harder to feel for Nicu by the end of his story.
The legend of the ghost church — which could mean so many things — is very strong throughout the movie. These peasants had the best of intentions in bringing the church to their village, but in the end many people died in the failed attempt. I interpret the story of the church as a symbol for parenthood. Parents are supposed to have the best intentions to help shield their children from pain but those intentions sometimes cause the most pain.
I highly recommend “If the Seed Doesn’t Die” — an extremely moving story that will certainly tug at the heartstrings.
Film: 4 Yaps