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In her strange, uncompromising debut feature director Uisenma Borchu plays Hedi, a young woman living out her radically promiscuous, disturbing and liberating independence.

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“I’m a free person because I don’t hate,” says Uisenma Borchu. The young director who received the Bavarian Film Prize for Best New Director speaks in a clear, strong, and moving way about her family’s journey from Mongolia to East Germany and ultimately the West. To be other, to be gazed at and maybe even hated is something Borchu has experienced first-hand. You can see her fulminant feature length debut as a complicated and ingenious translation of her own experience – and that wouldn’t do this wonderfully headstrong, radical, and effortlessly cool film justice.

Hedi, a young, strong, and fashion savvy woman lives a bohemian life in Munich in a much too large apartment when she meets Sofia, the neighbor’s daughter, in the backyard one day. We see Hedie and little Sofia in the streets of Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital before the encounter and we see them in Hedi’s grandmother’s yurt later on. Fantasy, dream, or early epilogue? Borchu does not make that clear to the audience, since not wanting to define things is one of the SCHAU MICH NICHT SO AN’s key features. Hedi meets Sofia’s mother Iva and begins a relationship with her which is imbued with erotic attraction, authority, and seduction. There is sexual ambiguity – the two pick a chance acquaintance up, make fun of inexperienced men, sleep with each other and others. When Hedi later says that she’s not a lesbian, it’s because she wants to rid herself of categories – the young woman is too free, willful, and undefinable to be labeled. Uisenma Borchu talks about the “unconscious wish for alienation” and keeps questioning social conventions through the figure of Hedi. What is “right” and “wrong” gets increasingly fractured throughout the film, the borders between reality and conception are consciously murky from the beginning.

It’s courageous to make a film like this, not just because it’s only Uisenma Borchu’s graduate thesis film but more than anything because the director wanted to translate a very personal feeling into a film, and she did it in an unusually confident way. Hedi is not the one being watched, the one who has to resist other people’s looks, who is forced to look back. Her nude body speaks a language that strays from objectivity. She, who deconstructs order from beginning to end, does not want to understand herself as “other” and is thereby free. This radical social, sexual, and social self-determination carries through the entire film, with a protagonist who is as distinct as she is controversial. A film that is free, feels freeing, and never panders to the audience. An unusual, unique, uncompromising, unapologetic, and pretty excellent debut.

Toby Ashraf

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Deutschland/Mongolei 2015, 88 min
Genre: Drama, Love-story
Director: Uisenma Borchu
Author: Uisenma Borchu
DOP: Sven Zellner
Montage: Christine Schorr, Uisenma Borchu
Distributor: Zorro Filmverleih
Cast: Uisenma Borchu, Catrina Stemmer, Josef Bierbichler
FSK: 16
Release: 16.06.2016

Website
IMDB

Screenings

Screenings

  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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