DRAMA; 2hr (German with subtitles)
STARRING: Fine Sendel, Julie Böwe
Extra-Ordinaries: Böwe (middle foreground), Sendel (right) and Background Actors
If you’ve ever felt like an unrealised player in the B-grade movie of your life, spare a thought for teenage malcontent Paula Feinmann (bright spark Sendel). For five years, Supporting Character Paula has been a student at Main Character School, finessing the art of “slow motion [and] emotive monologues” while excelling — does she ever! — at “panicked screaming.” Her minutely regulated, film-set existence is a kind of Truman Show redux, with each character keenly aware of his or her place in the pecking order of Main, Supporting and the roundly ostracised Outtakes.
In addition to battling the handicap of her Heart Reader’s malfunctioning mood music while stressing over her upcoming Main Character monologue, Paula is vainly searching for inexplicably missing archived footage of her late Main Character father. It’s all very well for her ineffectual Supporting Character mother (Böwe) to assure her that “Somewhere in between cuts, he’s sitting there now watching over us.” Paula remains unconvinced, a survival instinct that will serve her well on the slippery slope to integrity.
First-time director and co-writer Sophie Linnenbaum tackles the injustice of class stratification and the existential question of whether “all stories are pre-written” with a winking assuredness that dovetails a love for the smoke and mirrors of movies with an equal parts affinity for the disenfranchised and the seriously bizarre. The upshot is an odd little duck that touches down midway between out-there and insightful as Paula’s subversion of prescribed limitations unlocks an unscripted gateway to hope.