One of the boldest and most vulnerable takes on the insolvable labyrinth of love. Every gesture and every word spoken in Angela Schanelec’s first feature is at risk of being swallowed up by the noise of the city. It is the sound of numbness. Sometimes one almost forgets about it but then it reappears louder than before. The city is Berlin and it becomes a sort of habitat for endless moments of doubt. These moments are a whole life. Three characters are involved in what could be a classical love triangle. Yet the arrangement of two half-sisters (one of them played by the director herself) and the man they are in love with doesn’t change. There are no clear choices. Every step towards joy hurts somebody else. The characters repeatedly ask about happiness. There is no easy answer, because admitting to happiness just once could already cause pain in others. Schanelec frames faces from continuously differing angles and makes clear that joy, and indeed any other emotion, are a question of the perspective we have on someone. In the big city, there are endless possibilities for closeness and distance. Emotions don’t just show themselves, they must be constantly worked upon. (Viennale)
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