Das Glück meiner Schwester [My Sister’s Good Fortune] (1995)

Das Glück meiner Schwester
Director: Angela Schanelec
Writer: Angela Schanelec
Cast: Anna Bolk, Angela Schanelec, Wolfgang Michael, Katharina Linder, Michael Maertens
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 25.10.2019

Ariane (Anna Bolk) and Christian (Wolfgang Michael) have been dating for a while. She is a gardener, he is a photographer and they have found into an easy life with each other. That is, until Christian falls in love with Isabel (Angela Schanelec), Ariane’s half-sister, and Isabel returns his feelings. Things become complicated quickly.

Das Glück meiner Schwester was a nice beginning to my Viennale program this year. An interesting mix of naturalistic and artful, it doesn’t always work, but when it does, it is really good.

The film poster showing Christian (Wolfgang Michael) and Ariane (Anna Bolk) standing under a tree, looking away from each other.

Das Glück meiner Schwester is a debut independent film and that almost inevitably means that it will lean into its indie status a little too much, as if making sure that not a single frame of it could be confused with a big (Hollywood) studio production. But that’s only a small flaw.

The thing that stood out to me the most about the film were its dialogues that are a mix of naturalistic, everyday language and a beautifully honed artistic language, and are also performed with the same mix. It’s a contrast that could be jarring, but somehow it really works together.

Ariane (Anna Bolk) and Isabel (Angela Schanelec) leaning against a building together.

I also liked how Schanelec works through the love triangle here, and I say this as someone who is not necessarila a fan of triangles because we encounter them so often and they are very rarely as well done as it is here.

Nevertheless, the film has a couple of lengths, despite its actually rather short time. An easily forgiven flaw in the pacing that Schanelec hopefully will grow out of with the films she made after this one. I will be watching.

Christian (Wolfgang Michael) and Isabel (Angela Schnelec) in the kitchen together.

Summarizing: really good.

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