Germany, France / 2022
105 min. / Original version with English subtitles
Previously acclaimed for his essayistic documentaries, Philip Scheffner has now ventured into fiction. Zohra, played by Rhim Ibrir, already featured in Scheffner’s HAVARIE (Berlinale Forum 2016), is living in a town in southwestern France. She has a severe case of scoliosis. Volker Sattel’s camerawork examines X-rays, follows Zohra to the hospital and to an indoor swimming pool for rehab and sits right next to her or behind her on the bus. The images are crisp and flooded with summer light, the sense of place and space is so precise that we know each of the bus stops along her way: first Poste, then Piscine, then Europe.
When Zohra's condition improves, her residence permit is not renewed, so she has to go back to Algeria. Her case worker shrugs his shoulders: it’s out of his hands, he says, nothing he can do about it. A fade to black marks a turning point in the story, after which the heroine disappears from view. Scheffner continues to vary this game of the visible and the invisible for a while until dream and everyday reality fuse in the summer heat and glaring sunlight to create a shimmering narrative in the subjunctive. (Cristina Nord)
Philip Scheffner, born in 1966 in Homburg an der Saar, Germany. He lives and works as an artist and filmmaker in Berlin. He showed his films Havarie (2016), And-Ek Ghes… (2016), Revision (2012), Der Tag des Spatzen (2010) and The Halfmoon Files (2007) at the Berlinale Forum. Europe is his first feature film product
Production Caroline Kirberg, Merle Kröger. Production company Pong Film (Berlin, Germany). Director Philip Scheffner. Written by Philip Scheffner, Merle Kröger. Cinematography Volker Sattel. Editing Philip Scheffner. Sound design Simon Bastian. Sound Tristan Pontécaille. Production design Nicolas Lefebvre. Costumes Sandrine Bonheure. Casting Philip Scheffner, Pascal Capitolin, Caroline Kirberg, Bahijja El Amrani. Assistant director Pascal Capitolin. Production manager Nathalie Aubaret. Executive producer Caroline Kirberg. Co-producers Thomas Micoulet, Karim Aitouna, Meike Martens. Commissioning editor Rolf Bergmann. Co-production Blinker Filmproduktion GmbH, Haut les mains Productions, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes mit dem CNC. World Sales Square Eyes. German distributor Grandfilm. With Rhim Ibrir, Thierry Cantin (Doctor), Didier Cuillierier, Sadya Bekkouche, Hassane Ziani, Zoulikha Ibrir, Thomas Blanchard, Jane Resmond, Laurence Masliah, Marwane Sabri.
Films: 2003: A/C (42 min.). 2007: The Halfmoon Files (87 min., Forum 2007). 2010: Der Tag des Spatzen / Day of the Sparrow (100 min., Forum 2010). 2012: Revision (106 min., Forum 2012). 2016: And-Ek Ghes... (93 min., Forum 2016), Havarie (93 min., Forum 2016), Izadora (listening to versions of herself). 2022: Europe.