Sketches of Lou, the portrait of a woman from Zurich who is dying to be free
by Giorgia Del Don
- After the adventure of Wonderland, young Swiss director Lisa Blatter is back behind the camera with the portrait of a young hedonistic and free woman
Sketches of Lou [+see also:
film profile], the debut feature by Lisa Blatter, which had its world premiere in the Focus Switzerland, Germany, Austria section of the Zurich Film Festival, literally sketches out the portrait of a young woman grappling with a hunger for freedom that seems to turn into bulimia.
Lou, the protagonist of Blatter’s debut feature, is a citizen in the truest sense of the word; independent and almost arrogant, she never passes up the chance to prove to herself (and others) that freedom is the only way, a sort of antidote to a routine she fears more than anything else. What is Lou really running from? Why do emotional ties frighten her so much? Her encounter with Aro, a young artist who is also undoubtedly a citizen but tempered by a desire for stability that Lou doesn’t understand, puts her over a barrel, forcing her to face up to the devious little demons that seem to lurk under the mysterious bandages she always wears on her arm. To some extent, Aro becomes the alter ego of a Lou who has made her peace with life, the reflection of a life she could have but which she can’t identify with. Stopping herself means facing up to a past she’s not yet ready to unearth. Yet the more their relationship evolves, the more Lou experiences feelings she has never known before: jealousy, affection, being able to allow herself the luxury of letting her guard down. Through this portrait of Lou, Lisa Blatter speaks more generally of a youth in Zurich that is stuck between disinhibition and the search for its identity, a ‘golden’ youth in many respects that cannot free itself completely from the pressures of a society that expects it to perform at its best at all times. Lou rejects all the roles that others seem to want for her: mother, girlfriend, daughter, taking shelter in a constantly changing present that is elusive and complex, just like her.
With her precise yet discrete gaze, Lisa Blatter inches her way behind the façade of an über relaxed Zurich to sketch the portrait of a positively contemporary, complex and imperfect couple. Although Lou (Liliane Amuat) is always careful to hide her weaknesses behind a protective suit of armour that fits her like a glove, the engaging soundtrack by Maurizius Staerkle Drux that enshrouds the whole films brings us brief but significant clues about her ambiguous personality. The notes accompanying the images become a series of little drops of rain that refresh an atmosphere full of unexpressed desires, needs suffocated by a front of pride. What does it mean to be a modern woman? How can you free yourself from desire and expectations? How can you feel less alone without losing your individuality? Far from the superficiality of the city, it is in the mountains (in the majestic alpine landscape that heralds the end of the film) that Lou finds the strength to ground herself in the present to better immerse herself in the future.
Sketches of Lou is produced by Zurich-based company 2:1 Film GmbH.
(Translated from Italian)