Berlinale Blog Home Is where the Heart Is

“A Perfect Place” by Anatol Schuster
“A Perfect Place” by Anatol Schuster | Photo (detail): © wirFILM

Sibling conflicts and estranged couples – the 17 young directors presenting their debut works in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino section are spotlighting family issues.

Tom Sommerlatte’s Summers Downstairs brings French holiday flair to wintry Berlin. Two brothers – one successful, the other somewhat lacking in direction – meet on holiday in their family’s old holiday home. Feelings of aggression have built up between the brothers and their partners over the years, and are increasingly coming to the surface. The film always remains light-hearted, however, presenting the conflicts between the siblings with a great deal of humour though without making the characters appear ridiculous.

Family – the perfect place

Anatol Schuster’s A Perfect Place takes us to a remote village and introduces us to a family. After an accident, Kathrin wants to leave everything behind her and start afresh in the city, but Frank cannot imagine leaving his home. Their different wishes threaten to tear the family apart. All of them must first learn that the perfect place is not tied to the question of village or city, but to the members of the family themselves. The film is being shown together with Unoccupied by Filippa Bauer. Four women give their views on the loss of a husband and the sense of emptiness children leave behind when they fly the nest. Only their voices can be heard as a soundtrack to accompany images of the protagonists’ apartments and workplaces.

The family as an anchor in life

The loss of family is also the subject of Carolina Hellsgård’s Wanja. Wanja has lost contact with her daughter after seven years in prison. She keeps ducks and other birds in her flat for company. She becomes friends with Emma, a teenager who is at risk of drifting into a life of crime, as Wanja once did herself, and who needs her help. But can she really be any help to Emma given that she is only just getting her own life back on track?

The young filmmakers are touching and authentic in their depiction of family conflicts which range from trivial disputes to existential crises. I will certainly take advantage of the opportunity to watch other films in this section over the next few days. I am sure that this will give me the chance to experience the early works of some of tomorrow’s great directors.