Sounds like an American-ready comedy premise (which is why there’s a rumored remake): uptight daughter gets a visit from her goofball dad who tries getting her to lighten up. Generic versions of this story have been made before, but this one uses some unique characters to change the trajectory, eventually revealing the daughter was maybe right to hide her true nature beneath a serious businesswoman facade, because when she lightens up, she’s almost psychotically awkward (shades of Ade’s debut The Forest for the Trees).

The infamous nude scene was different than I expected, at least. You figure a nude scene will be about sex in some way, and it’s not. Out of a combination of the quirky strangeness that her dad’s visit has perhaps inspired and frustration at a dress zipper, Ines (Sandra Hüller: Requiem, Amour Fou) answers the door to her party guests in the nude, then starts insisting they disrobe as well. Meanwhile her dad Winfried/Toni (Peter Simonischek) has dramatically upped his costume game from a moppy wig and false teeth to a giant Bulgarian hair-monster costume, and arrives at the party without saying a word, freaking out the already scared naked party guests. It’s clearly a very good movie, and even if I have trouble understanding Cinema Scope’s film-of-the-year acclaim, this may be the scene of the year.

Ade, probably predicting the failure of next year’s remake:

When I tried to shorten the film, it gets very banal and less complex. The film needed a certain length … The moment you take out 20 minutes, then you have the father coming, he’s an idiot, she’s a businesswoman… it gets very simple, very fast.

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.

Not all mumblecore comedies of young-adult awkwardness come from the States, apparently. This one is from German filmmaker Ade, one of Cinema Scope’s 50 Under 50.

Melanie moves to a new town where she knows nobody, starting work as a teacher, breaking up with her boyfriend (who helps her move). She is enthusiastic to the point of desperation – gives all her neighbors gifts to introduce herself. She dodges a fellow teacher who wants to hang out with her, manages to make friends with a woman named Tina across the courtyard instead. But Tina has friends, throws parties, is in a relationship, deals with personal problems, and doesn’t want to hang out with Melanie 100% of the time – so Melanie becomes more and more desperate and stalkerish.

Adult life isn’t going too well. She even goes to a petting zoo and gets pushed around by little horses. Nothing intensely interesting happens until the final scene, where Melanie goes for a drive alone listening to Grandaddy and decides to crawl into the backseat and stare out the side window while the car is still going.

Pretty good little indie movie – I don’t get all the excitement, but I’ll take Cinema Scope’s word for it and watch her next movie. She’s also recently worked on Ulrich Kohler and Miguel Gomes movies I wanted to see. M. Peranson in Cinema Scope says this was her “DV student-film debut” and mentions that Melanie’s accent is a source of humor for native Germans.