Don’t be misled by its saccharine title: Bettina Oberli’s dramatic comedy is many things - intelligent, funny, caustic, beautifully directed, and very cleverly structured, to name a few - but sugary sweet isn’t one of them. Wanda (Agnieszka Grochowska, perfect), the Polish single mother of two boys back in Poland, works as the live-in caretaker of rich Swiss businessman Josef (André Jung), 70. Josef is recovering from a stroke at his sumptuous lakeside family villa, and Wanda, being a no-nonsense pragmatist, makes extra cash by servicing him sexually. When she becomes pregnant, the haut-bourgeois family - Josef’s wife Elsa (an amazing Marthe Keller), brittle daughter Sofie (Birgit Minichmayr, also great), and bird-loving son Gregi (Jacob Matschenz) - comes apart at the seams…
Winningly humane, especially for an often biting satire on the haves vis-à-vis the dignified have-nots, Oberli’s comedic drama is an astutely balanced (it is, indeed, "vis-à-vis" not "versus") consideration of themes of adoption, abandonment, and other universal family concerns. The great soundtrack adds another level to what is already a very pleasurable film.
Includes an interview with Director: Bettina Oberli
Agnieszka Grochowska, Marthe Keller, André Jung, Birgit Minichmayr, Jacob Matschenz, Anatole Taubman
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Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.
Bettina Oberli grew up in Samoa and Meiringen in Switzerland. She graduated from the Zurich University of the Arts. Her debut film Im Nordwind premiered in 2004 at San Sebastian and won several prizes. Late Bloomers (2006) is still among the top three Swiss feature films of all time. Oberli also makes music videos and short films and has directed stage plays and opera. My Wonderful Wanda (2020) is her sixth feature film.
Photo: ©Anita Affentranger
Im Nordwind (2004); Late Bloomers (2006); Le vent tourne (2018)