Das melancholische Mädchen [Aren’t You Happy?] (2019)

Das melancholische Mädchen [literally: The Melancholic Girl]
Director: Susanne Heinrich
Writer: Susanne Heinrich
Cast: Marie Rathscheck, Nicolai Borger, Malte Bündgen, Monika Freinberger, Julian Fricker, Yann Grouhel, Christine Kostropetsch, Markus Nechleba, Alexander von Hugo
Seen on: 9.7.2019

The Melancholic Girl (Marie Rathscheck) is looking for a place to sleep, to stay, to belong. But no matter who she encounters, she never quite fits in. It’s depressing. In fact, she is depressed and that depression is a deeply political state: how could you not be depressed looking at the world as it is.

Das melancholische Mädchen impressed me deeply. It’s idiosyncratic, very much its own thing and incredibly funny. I was really blown away.

The film poster showing The Melancholic Girl (Marie Rathscheck) wearing nothing but a faux fur coat smoking a cigarette in front of a wallpaper showing a white beach and palm tree.

Das melancholische Mädchen is an unusual film, and I’m sure that not everyone will get into it. Performances are highly stylized overall, with Rathscheck bearing the brunt of the film – and handling it perfectly. She is really expressive in her expressionless, almost monotone performance and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

Equally unusual is the film’s set design – filled with colors and brightness that seem to contrast with the content of the film much like its humorous tone, but it’s actually a perfect fit and makes the film visually very distinct.

The Melancholic Girl (Marie Rathscheck) sitting on a sofa, lit by disco lights, waiting.

Saying that the film has a humorous tone is actually putting it mildly – the film is laugh out loud funny. And at the same time, it’s highly critical of pretty much everything, it’s sharply observed and incredibly insightful. It’s an almost intoxicating mix.

I was always curious what the next chapter of the film would bring, where the Melancholic Girl would end up next and generally what Heinrich would come up with next. It is really a fantastic film and even more astounding considering that it’s Heinrich’s first. I hope that she makes many more films like it. I will be there to watch them.

The Melancholic Girl (Marie Rathscheck) in a bathtub waving a magic wand that loses magic sparkle.

Summarizing: an instant favorite.

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