Spotlight on German women directors at Brussels
by Aurore Engelen
The Brussels European Film Festival is in full swing in the Belgian capital. Films by German women directors take pride of place in the eclectic selection.
Screening in competition is Emily Atef’s The Stranger in Me [+see also:
film profile] (presented in Cannes Critics’ Week). The film tells the story of a woman who faces the most personal of struggles when she rejects her newborn child.
Luigi Falorni’s Heart of Fire [+see also:
film profile] (presented at the Berlinale) looks at the awakening resistance of a little girl enrolled against her will in the Eritrean liberation army. Awet – who resembles a young Angela Davis – uses all her might to challenge the inexorable fate of child soldiers.
Another time, another heart: Nicolette Krebitz’s The Heart is a Dark Forest [+see also:
film profile] is also screening in competition. The film’s protagonist Marie – who suffers from various neuroses caused by a claustrophobic marital and social situation – gradually turns into a vengeful mother when she discovers that her husband is leading a double life.
Nina Hoss gives a subtle and committed performance as this modern-day Medea. While the first part of the film explores the day-to-day isolation of a mother unable to identify her illness, the second part moves away from this reality, enabling the protagonist to express her fantasies as a woman who is by turns deceived and deceitful, leading to a shocking climax.
Using the device of an empty theatre stage, the scenes in which Marie and her husband air the conflicts they have never settled as a couple enable us to better understand the heroine’s frustrations. But the nightmarish fairytale that unfolds at a masked ball reminiscent of Kubrick’s work risks losing viewers, who are nonetheless acquainted with the character’s despair.
At the other end of the spectrum is Tamara Staudt’s Where the Glass is Greener [+see also:
film profile], starring actress-singer Anna Loos, in a role made for her. Courted by seductive men, from youngsters to mountain peasants, Eva – a militant 30-year-old – decides to take control of her own life. This romantic and bucolic comedy shows, in a light-hearted way, how you can live on love and fresh water in the Swiss Alps.
(Translated from French)
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