Charm Circle

Year2021 Duration79 min. Projection formatDCP ColourColour LanguageEnglish DirectorNira Burstein EditorMichael Levine, Nira Burstein SoundTristan Baylis MusicUri Burstein Production Nira Burstein, Betsy Laikin

Selected filmography: Charm Circle (2021), Gangrenous (2020), Off & Away (2014), I Said Light (2012), The Light House (2011).

Sheffield Doc/Fest, Valdivia International Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, Doclisboa, DOC NYC, Festival dei Popoli, Nashville Film Festival.

Out of competence. Closing Night.

Spanish premiere


Charm is the power to please or delight, but it can also be a talisman, an amulet to bring good luck (like the breakfast cereal, a lucky charm). Charm Circle is also a place in New York, a part of Queens. The entire Burstein family, three daughters and their parents, once lived in a house there; a very charming family, although their fate has been somewhat more complex. As Fabián Casas wrote: everything that rots forms a family. This film both supports and counters such an idea, focussing as much on the dysfunctional present of this group of people as it does on the converging lines of their past which have taken the form of a debacle. The Bursteins are about to lose their house to the bank. The bank, as always in American movies (and life), is the owner of everything. And so Charm Circle is a melodrama which knows that real life also comes from a long tradition of family melodramas in which the house, as it falls, tries to take its inhabitants along with it. It's also a musical, so as everything collapses, resistance sings. Between intimate conversations in the form of interviews and records of a past in which everything was new and worked, the film advances with its storylines. On the one hand the bank, on the other the wedding. One of the daughters is about to get married, a new family emerges from a polyamorous marriage of three. In the midst of it all, the eldest of the sisters, Nira (that midpoint between five people) puts together this catharsis-exorcism, a meticulously constructed home video dedicated to the entire world from her rotunda, in which her entire family is like the characters from a sitcom who have grown too quickly, and all the acidity which comes with old wit lays bare not just the deepest frustration but also the warmest sweetness.

Lucía Salas

Promoted by
Gobierno de Navarra
Organized by
With the aid of
Con la financiación del Gobierno de España. Instituto de la Cinematografía y las Artes Audiovisuales Acción Cultural Española Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia Financiado por la Unión Europea. NexGenerationEU

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