Magazine article Screen International

'Europe, She Loves': Berlin Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Europe, She Loves': Berlin Review

Article excerpt

Dir. Jan Gassmann. Switzerland, Germany. 2016. 100 mins.

The stress fractures in modern Europe are viewed through the relationships of four young couples in Europe, She Loves. Dividing its focus between Tallinn, Seville, Dublin and Thessaloniki, the film gains intimate access to the dreams, frustrations and the bedrooms of its twenty-something subjects. The intimacy of the approach belies the bold scope of film's ambitions: through a collage of domestic details, director Jan Gassman pieces together a bigger picture.

While the film doesn't tell us much about the state of contemporary Europe that we don't already know, it does offer an unusually frank glimpse of a generation which is struggling to make life work on the embattled fringes of the EU. The film's main asset, the eloquent, revealing photography by Gassmann's regular cinematographer, Ramon Giger, should make this attractive proposition on the European festival circuit. Theatrical sales are not out of the question although the breadth of the film's focus - unemployment, addiction, migration, protest, inertia - means that it lacks the incisive central thesis which could hook an audience.

Sound design is used to plug the gaps where the subjects fail to adequately articulate their thoughts - soundbites from radio and television provide a context. It is occasionally heavy-handed: "Europe is such a fragile construction," says a voice from a radio debate, as the screen fills with metaphorical shots of gathering storm clouds. …

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