Everyone Else (2009, Maren Ade)

Watched because Ade is one of Cinema Scope’s 50 Under 50, and this movie in their top ten of 2009. I didn’t love her previous feature The Forest for the Trees, but CS insisted that it gets better – and they’re right.

Gitti works in the music business and boyfriend Chris in architecture/renovation. They’re on vacation, unsuccessfully trying to avoid Chris’s frenemy/colleage Hans with his celebrity clothing designer wife Sana. Constants with Chris and Gitti seem to be social blunders around others (and sometimes worse, like when Gitti threatens Sana with a knife) and shitty, selfish behavior towards each other (this is usually Chris), culminating in Gitti leaving him and flying home early.

Shot handheld but nicely, with no incidental music, just a study of a few days with a couple who might not be meant for each other. Chris is Lars Eidinger of the new Peter Greenaway movie and Gitti is Birgit Minichmayr of Downfall and The White Ribbon.

E. Hynes in Reverse Shot: “Ade’s film is a perfectly complete portrait of romantic entanglement. Being on the inside can be brutal, but few things are as worthy of the trouble.” His appreciation of the movie is essential reading, made me reconsider it and realize what greatness people have been seeing in this unassuming character drama.

Kent Jones (who also reveals that Claire Denis loved it):

Where did she summon such a taut balance between tenderness and absolute ruthlessness, the kind of ruthlessness every filmmaker needs and few have the courage to exercise, the kind of tenderness few allow themselves the ability to summon on the set? … Everyone Else is a film of terrible power and absolute freedom, and it’s obvious that it’s only the beginning of the exploration.

Summer Without Gitti (2009, Maren Ade)

Chris is bored, makes dolls out of bits of ginger root, finally finds Hans. They climb trees. Hans goes away and Chris is bored and sad again. I watched this before the feature, but it’s obviously more clever in hindsight, Ade having re-edited scenes and outtakes from the feature to remove all presence of Gitti.