Ruza left Serbia, her country, over 30 years ago and lives in Zurich. Her daily life is a string of repetitive moments until, one day, Ana arrives on the scene and upsets Ruza's painstakingly organized world. A subtle friendship develops between the two strong willed women. Written by
Mirjana Karanovic, Marija Skaricic and Ljubica Jovic don't speak German and/or Swiss-German. Although the script had all the German texts translated, they had to learn their lines by heart and had to act without having a true feeling for the language. See more »
Deeply felt, quiet, honest drama of women needing each other to survive
A remarkable, small, deeply felt, just slightly offbeat film about what must have been a common and terribly real and depressing reality. Several women from the former Yugoslavia are living in German speaking Switzerland, and the old ties, old animosities, and new ties and friendships, are poignant and delicately worked out.
Sometimes low budget films revel in their lack of polish, as if announcing they are rebellious. "Fraulein" is really not at all an underground film, but rather just a serious one working within some limitations of money and time. And they make the most of it on every level. Above all, the main actresses--the older woman running the little restaurant and the young woman with some undisclosed inner trauma--are searingly right on. The one is repressed and responsible and a bit lifeless, living to survive, and proud to be surviving. The other is a little wild and unpredictable, full of life but with a recklessness that seems unwarranted. At first.
Both women are sad and lonely, and that leads to their needing each other, though both are so stubbornly independent they have trouble coming together as friends. When they do, in small ways, the screen lights up and you keep thinking, yes, yes, at last. You understand how hard it is to find true companionship, and even when you do, it doesn't work out quite right. Still, they both offer cracks in each other's worlds, and we get sucked in for the joy of it, and the eventual disappointment.
A surprising film, very moving, and yet quietly so. Give it a chance to get under your skin. At first, watching just the older woman, you think this is some East Berlin throwback and it's just sad and slow. But it's all for a good end, and things complicate. And the two women, once you get to know them, will win you over.
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