A murder case in the Mongolian steppe. A herder is asked to guard the crime scene - a woman who resolutely scares off both wolves and her neighbor. She has her own plans for the future, ... See full summary »
Lola controls her personal life with the same ruthless efficiency she uses to optimize profits in her job as a business consultant. But when a tragic event forces the past back into her life, Lola's grip on reality seems to slips away.
In a small and isolated town, Simon Dubé dies in a car accident. The stunned townspeople are reluctant to discuss the circumstances of the tragedy. From that point on time seems to lose all meaning, and the days stretch on without end.
She is small, but dangerous. Wherever Benni ends up, she is immediately expelled. The wild 9-year-old girl has already become what child protection services call a "system crasher". And she is certainly not looking to change her ways. Because Benni has one single goal: to be back at home with her mommy. But Bianca is scared of her own daughter. Mrs Bafané from child protection services is trying her best to find a permanent placement for Benni. She hires the anger management trainer Micha as Benni's school escort and suddenly there is a seed of hope. Will Micha be able to succeed where all others despaired?Written by
Perfect storytelling and deep delving portrait of how teachers, social workers, therapists and foster parents end up without options to find a suitable future for a 9-year old
Saw this at the Berlinale 2019, where it was part of the official competition for the golder bear. It won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize "for a feature film that opens new perspectives".
I myself can only humbly add the following praises: Perfect storytelling, deep delving portrait of the many people involved (social workers, schools, therapists, foster parents, natural parents, and so on), all having their daily struggles in general like everyone else, but additionally must cope with such a difficult (hopeless) case as Benni is. Pitying and caring is not enough. Benni defies all logical behavior, despite of normal intelligence and old enough to correlate her own behavior with how people respond on what she does and how she acts. Some of the hefty scenes are uneasy to watch but without overdoing it nor over-exploiting the situation.
This movie succeeds in avoiding most clichés about difficult children, incapable parents, and well-meaning social workers. All protagonists act believable in their own role, even Benni's natural mother who is a problematic case herself, apart from being unable to handle Benni, even to the extent of fearing her own daughter. Thus, she cannot fulfill Benni's desire to live with her natural mother, regardless of how often Benni repeats that she really wants that. Acting such, she frustrates all efforts wanting her in a different direction.
Micha is a different case altogether. In the beginning he seems the only one capable of dealing with Benni, thereby showing progress for the first time in the story. But he "comes too close" (his own words), and fears to lose his professional distance. The two instances when Benni encounters Micha's family, one on Micha's own initiative and one due to Benni arriving on their doorstep. Both seem to work out very well initially, alas both strand in some sort of near-disaster after a few seemingly happy days.
The child protection service woman believes and repeatedly says that living with a natural mother will solve all problems. She really beliefs that natural parents implicitly have a supernatural influence. It is clear (and proven in this case) that it does not work every time, and certainly not here. Apart from that misconception, she goes at any imaginable length to find a solution. Her despair is truly visible. The repeated efforts to find a new home for Benni are heart moving as well as hopeless.
We can do nothing else than follow this well-meaning woman in her feeling of despair. We witness many situations that seem to start well yet always end in a sort of disaster. It follows that pattern repeatedly, nearly exhausting all options for Benni as well as drawing on us viewers. Though all subsequent attempts end miserably, the situations are still sufficiently varied. The apparent repeats may be wearing us out along with the social workers, but not in a boring repetitive way.
We are offered no hope for any sort of happy end. Even worse, I'm not sure what to think about the ending. The final scene leaves unclear (I assume on purpose) how the story with Benni ends. I imagine that a better way to end the movie cannot be thought of, given the ingredients.
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