Cracks in the Shell
Christian Schwochow, Germany, 2011, 113 minutes, color
The German equivalent to The Black Swan, German film Cracks in the Shell focuses on Fine, a young actress who struggles with conflicting desires inside herself. She dreams of lighting up a stage with her passion for acting but also lacks the confidence to sit under the scrutiny of others. Living with her mentally handicapped sister, Fine is constantly under pressure to guard the emotional welfare of her sister as well. When director Kasper Friedermann casts Fine in his next play, she is unaware that he did so planning to use her emotional distress to bring his new character Camille alive. His vision for Camille is one of a vulnerable spirit, feminine, sexual, but also primed to shatter at any moment. And as Fine falls into her role of Camille she begins to align with her character’s weaknesses and further tortures herself under the psychological stress.
As Fine begins to break the shell of sanity she becomes more involved in her relationship with Friedermann, who does not hesitate to participate in her torture as Camille. The change in her character becomes increasingly evident throughout the film as she begins to detach from her dear family and is stuck at a crossroads - lost and unable to return to herself but terrified of her other self.
Andrea Molaioli, Italy/France, 2011, 110 minutes, color
Andrei Zvyagintsev, Russia, 2011, 109 minutes, color