GOETHE-INSTITUT LONDON 50 Princes Gate Exhibition Road SW7 2PH London
Thirty-something couple Chris and Gitti are spending their summer holidays in Sardinia, where they are staying in a house that belongs to Chris’ mother. The sun is shining, the landscape is beautiful, they are in love. Things would be perfect if Chris wasn’t plagued by self-doubts mostly caused by his flagging career as an architect. Gitti makes every effort to boost his ego and to distract him, but this irritates Chris more than it cheers him up. When they meet up with a friend of Chris, a successful architect, and his girl-friend, their increasingly tense relationship is tested even more.
Director Maren Ade brilliantly traces the subtle shifts in this relationship between two people whose opposite personalities – Chris is reflective and idealistic, while Gitti is spontaneous and down-to-earth – could make a perfect match, but instead add fuel to the smouldering crisis. There are painful moments of betrayal and recognition, but Ade withholds from turning this into a melodramatic duel in the sun. Instead she adds a dose of the absurd and the unpredictable to her precise observation, which is never cold and lets us analyse and at the same time feel for her two protagonists, who are superbly played by Lars Eidinger and Birgit Minichmayr. The latter was awarded the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin Film Festival 2009. Maren Ade received a Silver Bear for best direction.