For everyone Film review: Housekeeping for Beginners

Melbourne-based filmmaker Goran Stolevski spooked us out with You Won’t Be Alone (YWBA), his Sundance-debuting folk horror about shapeshifting witches, then scooped us up in the glowing romance Of an Age, a love letter to lonely hearts entwining in his adopted city.

He is three for three with his luminous third feature, this year’s Venice Film Festival Queer Lion Award-winner, Housekeeping for Beginners.

Set in Stolevski’s home country of North Macedonia, it thrums with all the joyous life of an Armistead Maupin novel. YWBA star Anamaria Marinca plays social worker Dita, whose home – shared with Roma lover Suada (Alina Serban) – is a refuge for waifs and strays. That includes her taciturn best mate Toni (Vladimir Tintor) and Ali (Samson Selim) his Grindr hook-up who forgot to leave, the latter of whom bonds with Suada’s tiny but mighty daughter.

When tragedy strikes this rowdily chaotic yet emotionally sturdy home, proudly facing down resistance to LGBTQIA+ and Roma people, the film lights up with its depiction of a found family holding one another aloft when they need it most.

Radiant stuff.

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