Thirty-something couple Chris and Gitti are spending their summer holidays in Sardinia, where they are staying in a house that belongs to Chris’ mother. The sun is shining, the landscape is beautiful, they are in love. Things would be perfect if Chris wasn’t plagued by self-doubts mostly caused by his flagging career as an architect. Gitti makes every effort to boost his ego and to distract him, but this irritates Chris more than it cheers him up. When they meet up with a friend of Chris, a successful architect, and his girl-friend, their increasingly tense relationship is tested even more.
Director Maren Ade brilliantly traces the subtle shifts in this relationship between two people whose opposite personalities – Chris is reflective and idealistic, while Gitti is spontaneous and down-to-earth – could make a perfect match, but instead add fuel to the smouldering crisis. There are painful moments of betrayal and recognition, but Ade withholds from turning this into a melodramatic duel in the sun. Instead she adds a dose of the absurd and the unpredictable to her precise observation, which is never cold and lets us analyse and at the same time feel for her two protagonists, who are superbly played by Lars Eidinger and Birgit Minichmayr. The latter was awarded the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin Film Festival 2009. Maren Ade received a Silver Bear for best direction.
Everyone Else was Maren Ade’s second film following her critically acclaimed debut The Forest for the Trees (Der Wald vor lauter Bäumen) (2003). Her most recent film Toni Erdmann (2016), another portrayal of a relationship, this time between a socially inept father and a professionally successful daughter, was a favourite at the 2016 Cannes film festival. Ade, who always writes her own screenplays, also produces her films, having founded the Berlin based production company Komplizen Film in 2000 together with fellow Munich film school student Janine Jackowski. They have produced films by amongst others Barbara Albert, Miguel Gomes, Valeska Grisebach, Ulrich Köhler, and Jasmila Zbanic.
Germany 2009, colour, 124 mins. German with English subtitles.
Director: Maren Ade. With Birgit Minichmayr, Lars Eidinger, Nicole Marischka, Hans-Jochen Wagner.