Plot: Mona (Gro Swantje Kohlhof) lives with her mother Marlene (Sandra Hüller), a flight attendant who struggles with sleep issues – or rather, she struggles with her dreams. Marlene is convinced that her recurring dreams are pointing her towards a real place and she thinks she has found it. Unbeknownst to Mona, she makes her way to the giant hotel in the middle of nowhere that she believes is the place she is dreaming about. But it doesn’t take long and Marlene suffers a full-blown break-down. Mona comes after her and tries to figure out what is going on with Marlene and her dreams. And something is definitely going on.
Schlaf is an excellent film that moves nicely between dream/nightmare logic and political commentary. It’s a pretty wild ride that took me in completely.
Plot: Sibyl (Virginie Efira) is a therapist who feels inspired to return to her first passion of writing novels. So she lets go most of her clients and prepares to write a novel. When she gets a call from the young actress Margot (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who is in obvious distress, she makes an exception and takes her own as a client as well. In Margot’s story, she finds the inspiration she needed for her novel, but the more time they spend together, the deeper Sibyl gets sucked into the story herself.
Sibyl gives us an antiheroine in quite a few very complicated relationships (and if they aren’t complicated on their own, she knows how to complicate them). This is engaging material, especially with that cast, but it does spiral a little too much at times.
Winfried (Peter Simonischek) is a strange man, a bit of a prankster. After his dog dies, he decides to visit his daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller) who works in Bucharest as a consultant. The two of them don’t really speak or get along all that well and Ines is not exactly thrilled at having her father drop by unexpectedly. But Winfried won’t give up trying to reconnect. Instead he becomes the eccentric Toni Erdmann, saying he is the German ambassador and starts showing up everywhere Ines goes, much to her consternation – at least at first.
Toni Erdmann came with high accolades and high expectations on my part. Unfortunately it almost completely failed to work for me.