The Forest for the Trees (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner15/02/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 81 mins

Engaging, low-budget German drama with a strong script and a heart-breaking central performance from Eva Löbau.

What’s it all about?
Eva Löbau stars as Melanie, a plain, lonely young woman who leaves a long-term relationship and moves to a new town, hoping to make a new start. She gets a job as a teacher, taking over several classes in the middle of the school year.

However, she finds it increasingly difficult to control her classes and her social awkwardness sets her apart from the other teachers. Desperate for some form of companionship, Melanie forges a bond with her attractive female neighbour, Tina (Daniela Holtz) but she begins to panic when she feels the friendship slipping away from her and her behaviour becomes increasingly socially unacceptable as a result.

The Good
German director Maren Ade’s The Forest for the Trees was shot on video and submitted as her film school graduation feature, before going on to win several prizes at film festivals. Initially the ultra-low-budget look of the film is off-putting (it looks like it was shot on an old-fashioned VHS camera), however it’s a testament to both the acting and the direction that you soon become completely immersed in the story.

The Great
Eva Löbau’s performance is terrific – she’s utterly heart-breaking as she tries to put a brave face on being rejected. There’s also strong support from Daniela Holtz and from Jan Neumann as Thorsten, a nerdy teacher who asks her out. In addition, the film features an astonishing final scene that is weirdly beautiful and deeply upsetting at the same time.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Forest for the Trees is an engaging, moving and ultimately devastating portrayal of loneliness with a superb central performance from Eva Löbau. Highly recommended and well worth seeking out.

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 16:13

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