I Was at Home, but…
Ich war zuhause, aber…
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
You could be forgiven for never having heard the name Angela Schanelec. Prior to I Was at Home, but… (winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlinale), the 57-year-old German filmmaker was one of the lesser known members of the "Berlin School," a loosely affiliated collective that includes such stylistically disparate directors as Christian Petzold, Maren Ade, and Ulrich Köhler. But with her latest - Schanelec’s most accessible, moving, and (arguably) best film to date - she has become impossible to overlook.
Taking the syntax of its title from Ozu Yasujiro’s 1932 masterpiece I Was Born, but…, Schanelec’s film is a prismatic portrait of family in crisis. The precise nature of that crisis is one of sundry mysteries implied by the film’s deliberately fragmented narrative. This much is certain: following the death of his father, teenage Phillip (Jakob Lassalle) runs away from home and suffers a severe foot injury in the process. His emotionally distraught mother Astrid (Maren Eggert) is inconsolable and begins lashing out in strange, inexplicable ways.
Featuring some of the most captivating compositions from any movie this year, not to mention a David Bowie needle drop for the ages (M. Ward’s cover of "Let’s Dance," to be precise), I Was at Home, but… announces its director as one of the most distinctive talents working in art-house cinema today.
"It’s a breathtaking display of simple cinematic virtuosity… It’s clear that we’re not merely in safe hands, but that the hands are those of a modern master." - Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter
Silver Bear (Best Director), Berlin 19