When the first thing you read about a film is that it has been compared to Ken Loach’s style and substance then you are going to have certain expectations. Mia Meyer film The Seed, thankfully, has earned this comparison.
When Rainer moves his family out of the city to a new, more rural location on the promise of being a site manager at the company that he has always worked at things seem to be on the up. However, with the family-run company being passed onto the son, pressures and existing procedures are soon out of kilter with the way things were run before. The introduction of a new, more experienced site manager to take over Rainer’s role throws the cat amongst the pigeons and tensions rise further.
Alongside this Rainer’s teenage daughter, Doreen (Dora Zygouri), has been ripped away from her best friend and is having to find a new support network. Her next door neighbour, Mara, is the first person she makes acquaintances with and they seemingly strike up a good friendship. However, Mara’s ideas about what is acceptable and what isn’t don’t always meet up with Doreen’s. The parallels drawn between the father and daughter are really well done and only serves to heighten the tension and pressure surrounding the close family. Their good hearts, knowing what they should and shouldn’t be doing, who they are beholden to and what makes a good person, are there for all to see but The Seed does superb work in showing how the pressure can make even the staunchest good heart fail.
When the initial happiness starts to fade is when this film comes to life. If you can stomach watching a family’s structure and support slowly be erased piece by piece then you will be rewarded by a superb performance from Rainer (Hanno Koffler) as he is stretched in increasingly more difficult ways and strives to make ends meet as the problems mount up. It does at times take a slightly more cinematic view of the pressures Rainer is under, detracting slightly from the realism that is brought beforehand.
The ending does come quite abruptly and leaves you with a few questions, but the journey to this place is where this film shines.
The Seed is exactly the kind of film the Cambridge Film Festival brings to my attention that I wouldn’t otherwise see. It is superbly made, well-acted and has a well thought-out, strong story from start to finish.