The Ordinaries

Girl looking out of vintage car window Photo by FK Godenschweger © Bandenfilm Fiction, drama
Germany, 2022, 120 min.

Language: German with English subtitles
Director: Sophie Linnenbaum
Screenwriter: Sophie Linnenbaum, Michael Vetter Nathansky
Cinematographer: Valentin Selmke
Cast: Fine Sendel, Jule Böwe, Henning Peker, Noah Tinwa, Sira Faal
Producers: Laura Klippel, Britta Strampe (Bandenfilm)
Festivals: Karlovy Vary 2022, Munich 2022, Zurich 2022, Tallinn Black Nights 2022
Awards: German Cinema New Talent Award for Best Director, Best Production (Munich 2022)

Sophie Linnenbaum’s playful film, her fiction feature debut, is an extraordinary exercise in metanarrative and metaphor. It imagines a future cast(e) system that divides humans into different levels of characters, from background performers to leading roles, and the slippery spectrum that connects them.

Essentially a work of sci-fi, The Ordinaries is primarily a work of allegorical magic realism filtered through an unencumbered love for cinema—this is a film for people with celluloid in their blood. Impromptu dance routines give way to grim dystopia, through social realism, by way of absurdist comedy. It’s a thrilling achievement, wildly inventive and fizzing with the potential of the moment. Don’t be surprised if a talking dog makes an appearance. But the film’s greatest strength is its sense of the profound amid the banal—what does it mean to feel like an outtake in the film of your own life? And can cinema help you find out? The Ordinaries may come close to answering those questions. – Jim Kolmar

Presented with Jonatan Schwenk’s Zoon