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The members of an upper-middle-class German family are devastated by the suicide of the cherished 19-year-old scion (Cyril Sjostrom) but lack the capacity to process their pain. Comparisons to Robert Redford’s Ordinary People (1980) are inevitable, but instead of turning to a menschliche Jewish shrink, the tightly wound mother (Corinna Harfouch) commissions a painter to create a portrait of her dead son and living daughter (Karoline Herfurth). The daughter derides the project as an exercise in ghoulish kitsch, but her sessions with the artist become an inquest into her family’s emotional pathologies; the painter, meanwhile, is trying to decipher his complicated sexual nature and work through the wreckage of his own past. Director Caroline Link (Nowhere in Africa) eschews sentimentality, but her 2008 film, however well-acted, suffers somewhat from the same coolness and bloodlessness it purports to dissect. In German with subtitles. 129 min.


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Director: Caroline Link
Writer: Caroline Link
Producer: Robert W. Cort, Scarlett Lacey, Martin Moszkowicz and Uschi Reich
Cast: Josef Bierbichler, Hansa Czypionka, Franz Dinda, Alina Freund, Corinna Harfouch, Karoline Herfurth, Philip Koestring and Filippo Kreindl

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  • European Union Film Festival

    European Union Film Festival

    Featuring Dogtooth, Lourdes, Helsinki, Forever, and more
    • Mar 18, 2010

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