Viennale 2015 – Day 2: Anderswo (Elsewhere)

D 2014
Written by Ester Amrami & Momme Peters
Directed by Ester Amrami
Watched on 23.10.2015

I still can’t get over the fact that this movie was written and directed as graduation project of a film student. It’s so well made and shot, and feels so self-assured, sophisticated and mature, that you’d never expect it to be someone’s feature film debut. However, that’s not the only reason why “Anderswo” is awesome, because even from a more experienced filmmaker, this still would be quite some impressive work.

“Anderswo” deals with the rootlessness of immigrants, feeling not quite at home yet in their adopted country, but also not really at home anymore in the country that they left behind. They rather seem to be stuck somewhere in between, like being constantly in transit. Feeling lost in her new life and hitting a wall with her latest art project, Noa, who studies in Berlin, decides on a whim to visit her family in Israel. What was only planned as a short weekend trip gets prolonged unexpectedly when her grandma (one charming little discovery that I owe to “Anderswo”: Grannies are the same everywhere!) becomes seriously ill, which also prompts her boyfriend Jörg to also make the trip to Isreal. Hilarity, awkwardness and tragedy ensue. There are a couple of very funny scenes, but also some serious, quiet, contemplative, moving and outright tragic moments. The direction is spotless, and especially impressive when you consider the low budget-origin of this feature. The acting also is really great, with Neta Riskin and her “mother” Hana Laszlo two particular standouts. And the song that played during the credits – an interpretation of “Words” by F.R. David, but translated to german – was absolutely hilarious. I also really enjoyed the insight into jewish culture that “Anderswo” – unsurprisingly – offers up, as well as the theme of untranslatable words – and the attempt to do so anyway – which was quite fascinating, and offered interesting insights into the cultures they stemmed from. Interestingly enough, “Anderswo” itself kinda felt like one of those untranslatable terms to me, since it was a wonderful experience that nevertheless is quite hard for me to put into words. Pretty much the only thing that I didn’t like – at all – was the score. Thankfully, it was only played briefly at the beginning and at the end, thus not torturing my ears too long and/or frequently. Other than that, “Anderswo” was a greatly enjoyable and absolutely wonderful film that I’d highly recommend to anyone who’s even remotely interested in german cinema, jewish culture, and/or the hardships of leaving your home in order to live elsewhere.


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