Have you had anyone in your life like the title character from Toni Erdmann (Ade, 2016)? A family member, a friend’s dad, a work colleague? And are you still traumatized? All kidding aside, writer/director Maren Ade, along with her actors Sandra Hüller and Peter Simonischek, delves deeply into the complexities of an adult father/daughter relationship in which the adults may not really like each other.
In exploring this relationship, Ade was fascinated by “…the roles everybody played, about all these rituals, things that repeat themselves again and again, and to have on the other side – you had to tell something about the wish to break out of this, to maybe start from zero.…I found out during writing that the father-daughter thing is a very emotional topic, this children-parents thing….there’s a lot of secret aggression, secret longing, secret fears in that…”
Hüller and Simonischek bring to life two people bonded together by the coincidence of family who have hit the walls of that bond. They have the chance to truly assess each other as humans outside of their built-in relationship, and have the option of deciding whether or not to continue. The film does not end with a big grand heartwarming life change, and we do not know if the characters will decide to start anew or stay in the same patterns. That is why, along with a thousand other moments in the film, that I find it to be so poignant and transgressive.
What you’ll find in this episode: women navigating the indignities of the modern workplace, whether the film is a comedy, and that blood is coincidental.
Check out Toni Erdmann on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Castle of the Creeping Flesh.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Paper Moon.
The masked kukeri of Bulgaria.
An exploration of the Romanian New Wave.