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After a failed attempt at working on a foreign film set, 26 year-old Ana returns to her hometown of Strasbourg. Over the scorching summer that follows, she decides to replace her grandmother's bathtub with a walk-in shower, eat peas and carrots with ketchup, drive a Porsche, harvest plums, lose her driver's license, sleep with her best friend and get back together with her ex. In short, over this particular summer, Ana tries to get her life together.
In her feature film debut writer/director Rachel Lang portraits young, reckless and aimless Ana, a 26 year old girl who steals a car from the company she works for to go to her grandmother in Strasbourg for a summer of big changes and decisions. "Baden Baden" unfolds its story as a series of many funny and some sad vignettes tied together by Ana's redecorating of her grandmother's bathroom, which stands as a metaphor for rebuilding her own life.
As aimless as Ana is, Lang's work is nothing like it. She tells the story with remarkable assuredness and great skill, something rarely found in the first-time director. Impressive cinematography (Fiona Braillon), great editing (Sophie Vercruysse) and excellent choice of music (Rachel Lang) are all of great significance in creating the film's unique atmosphere, and of course, it doesn't hurt that leading lady Salome Richard, herself a newcomer, shines as Ana, buying our sympathies from the very first scene.
"Baden Baden" mixes comedy, tragedy and simple ordinary life in the best ways possible and, although it probably isn't poised to make an impact on the history of film, it definitely makes an impact on the viewers. It is a film that shouldn't be missed.
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