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October 10, 2009

Everyone Else, 2009

everyone_else.gifThe title of Maren Ade's quietly observed film is subtly conveyed in passing, a desire expressed by uninhibited rock publicist, Gitti (Birgit Minichmayr) to her architect boyfriend, Chris (Lars Eidinger) that their relationship will not be reduced to the banal paradigm of being like "everyone else". But romanticism soon collides with reality for the couple during a holiday to Sardinia. This rupture crystallizes in an episode in which Chris (Lars Eidinger) gives a tour of his mother's sitting room to dinner guests, Hans (Hans-Jochen Wagner) and his wife Sana (Nicole Marischka) despite Gitti's reluctance - an eclectically furnished room with a painted tree branch, personal mementos, whimsical curios, and a passé record collection that prompts Sana to remark that the room is filed with longing. It is a comment that would also embody the nature of Chris and Gitti's relationship and its gradual unraveling. Increasingly insecure over professional setbacks, the reserved Chris is reluctant to involve Gitti in his affairs, avoiding disclosure that he had lost a prestigious design contest by claiming that the selection had still not been announced. Reuniting with old friend and fellow architect (and implicit rival) Hans, Chris and Gitti begin to reevaluate their relationship within the paradigm of Hans and Sana's seemingly parsed, well-defined roles within their own relationship and, in the process, begin to lose their own identities. Ade insightfully uses flat compositions and medium shots to de-dramatize the action, creating a neutral framing that reflects the fluid dynamics intrinsic in the formation and dissolution of all relationships. Framed in the context of the mother's sitting room, their struggle is also an unarticulated longing expressed through ridiculous, imperfect displays of personality and validation.

Posted by acquarello on Oct 10, 2009 | | Filed under 2009, New York Film Festival


Hi Acquarello,

I found this to be an amazing film. I was not sure what to make of the relationship for the first 20 min or so but when it became apparent what was happening, then it was fascinating to observe things collapse. Things get especially interesting when Hans comes into the picture. Chris wants Hans' appreciation yet deep down resents Hans as well. I believe there was a moment when both Chris and Hans laugh at something and it looked like it was a forced fake laugh from Chris, all to humiliate and put down Gitti.

Posted by: Sachin on Oct 11, 2009 11:52 AM | Permalink

Hi Sachin, yes, I had the same ambivalence about where the film was going also at the start. I remember Chris also saying something to the effect that he doesn't want to see Hans because he always causes things to happen, then he wants to hang around him all the time. If I remember correctly, Hans's put down of Gitti was when she was trying to defend Chris, and he makes a snide remark about her always building him up. Of course, his wife does the same thing.

Posted by: acquarello [TypeKey Profile Page] on Oct 11, 2009 11:37 PM | Permalink

yeah you are right. Hans' put down of Gitti was when she defends Chris, only for Chris to put her down. That scene was quite fascinating as it highlighted how much Chris wanted Hans' appreciation for everything. If Hans said what Chris did was worthless, then Chris would have agreed :) I also found the difference between the two wives to be interesting. I wondered if Chris would want a wife like Hans', one with no opinion of her own, someone who merely nods at everything.

Posted by: sachin on Oct 14, 2009 7:13 PM | Permalink

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