Just being alive can feel so difficult. It can feel so difficult just to be alive. Shot on 16mm, Milena Czernovsky and Lilith Kraxner’s debut feature explores the body and soul of a young woman, played with entrancing unrest by Eva Sommer, living in a house all alone. She waters the garden, takes a bath, prepares dinner, watches television, invites some people over. And that’s all, a portrait of a woman that comes close to the Neorealists’ dream of filming 24 hours in the life of a person while nothing special happens. Something feels wrong, however, and the silence is devoid of harmony.
Through Beatrix, the film opens up a rare and tense sense of a female body. As the protagonist moves in a protected space, there is no image of woman to which she must comply. There are no expectations, just an overwhelming flow of potentials, both narrative and physical. The seemingly mundane is a non-place of cinema in which identities are tried out and fears become graspable. One cannot help thinking of early films by Chantal Akerman, carrying a sense of similarly estranged privacy, boredom, and anger. Whoever thought the artistic concept of ennui was dead has to wake up to the somnambulistic splendor of a female generation on the threshold of eruption.
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