Eine flexible Frau/The Drifter
Tatjana Turanskyj, Germany
2010, 97 min
20 February 2010
Delphi Filmpalast, Berlin
Cast: Mira Partecke (Greta), Katharina Bellena (Loretta), Laura Tonke (Ann), Sven Seeger (Tänzer), Torsten Haase (Tänzer), Fabio Pink (Tänzer), Michaela Benn (Marlene), Ilya Papatheodorou (Francesca), Thorsten Heidel (Max), Andina Weiler (Fee), Angelika Sautter (Kracht), Anna Schmidt (Callcenter-Agent), Ninoschka Schlothauer (Callcenter-Agent), Franziska Dick (Frau Zeller), Bastian Trost (Kluge), Saskia Draxler (Saskia), Chunchun Qian (Sue), Aizhen Xu (Lilith), Weihua Wang (Dolmetscherin), Mattis Hausig (Lukas), Roman Weiler (Tim), Horst Markgraf (Paul), Sean Patten (Sean), et al.
One of eight Forum films among the debuts competing for the Best First Feature prize.
“A 40-year-old woman loses her job and has problems.” That’s really all you need to know about this assured, complex, and entertaining feature, which is first and foremost a good movie.
Eine Flexible Frau also presents an acute sociopolitical analysis of work and life for a woman in the New Berlin, and countless other “cities of women” of the new global capitalism. Initially inspired by Richard Sennett’s vision of the modern “flexible” corporation powered by disposable workers (The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism), Tatyana Turanskyj mixes imagery from the flattening urban topography, fashion magazines, and the new lingua franca of corporate buzzwords to create a surprisingly vibrant story of a woman spiraling out of our increasingly pointless society:
“My heroine confronts the more affirmative figures of women – the city of women. She is a critic and doubter, seeking in vain to adjust to circumstances without giving up her autonomy and dignity. It is made clear to her that this can no longer be done; the price of adjustment would be to abandon her critical stance toward the world.”
In a scene of classic horizontal imagination that would make John Ford, Sergio Leone, or Clint Eastwood proud, the film begins and ends with the protagonist Greta (Mira Partecke, in a totally effective, heartbreaking performance) the morning after her birthday, staggering out of a field, jobless and (nearly) friendless, but still standing.
And finally, something like consolation from another “witty, impudent, combative, willful, and extremely sad”* soul, also not made for his time:
“Ruhmlos und einsam kehr’ ich zurük und wandre durch mein Vaterland, das, wie ein Todtengarten, weit umher liegt, und mich erwartet vielleicht das Messer des Jägers, der uns Griechen, wie das Wild des Waldes, sich zur Lust hält.”
I won’t presume to translate Hölderlin, but there’s a recent English version of Hyperion by Ross Benjamin that I’ve heard is good.
Visit the Berlinale website.
*This apt description is Birgit Kohler’s, from her interview with the director.