Anne at 13,000 Ft. (2019)

Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Director: Kazik Radwanski
Writer: Kazik Radwanski
Cast: Deragh Campbell, Lawrene Denkers, Matt Johnson, Michael Kuthe, Dorothea Paas
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 28.10.2020

Anne (Deragh Campbell) works in a kindergarten with her best friend Sarah (Dorothea Paas). Anne is a bit of a difficult character. She keeps fighting with colleagues at work (at least the kids love her though). When she meets Matt (Matt Johnson) at Sarah’s wedding, they do hit it off, but Anne also missteps in that relationship. Out of concern, her mother (Lawrene Denkers) keeps smothering her. Before Sarah gets married, Anne organizes her bachelorette party and they go skydiving. Anne takes to it like a fish to water. But you can’t go skydiving the entire time.

Anne at 13,000 Ft. is a very nice portrait of an awkward woman who probably has some mental health issues, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want to or can’t live her life on her own terms. I really enjoyed it.

The film poster showing Anne (Deragh Campbell), her had barely in the shot, above her only sky.

Watching Anne fighting for the right to live her life as she wants to live it and constantly being confronted by her own limits – I think what they captured here very much describes the reality of many disabled and mentally ill people in the exclusionist world we live in. Including Anne’s overbearing mother who is coming from a place of love but ultimately suffocates Anne with her attempts to keep her safe (it is hinted at that Anne had a very difficult period before, but it’s never made explicit what happened).

Anne has particular difficulties navigating her relationships, stumbling from blunder to blunder because she comes across as antagonizing, careless, or pushy, because people don’t get her sense of humor (including the audience sometimes), because she is simply awkward. At the end of the film, there is an acceptance of this awkardness. Not in a defeatist way at all, but in a way that includes acknowledging her strength and her growth, without changing who she is at heart.

Anne (Deragh Campbell) doing a parachute tandem jump

Deragh Campbell is absolutely fanatastic as Anne. Anne as a character could have so easily become a caricature, but she keeps her grounded, emotional, and relatable always – even when you don’t necessarily understand Anne in that particular moment. Matt Johnson has a very sweet, charming presence that complements Campbell’s performance in a very comforting way.

And I have to compliment the ending, too – it is nicely foreshadow without becoming unbearably clever. Overall I really enjoyed going on the journey with Anne and I would have been willing to follow her some more.

Anne (Deragh Campbell) gettig ready to parachute.

Summarizing: very nice.

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