Director: Jan-Ole Gerster
Cast: Corrina Harfouch, Tom Schilling
Country: Germany 2019
Running time: 98mins
What is it with Lara and her determination to quash her son’s phenomenal achievements? Even as she dishes out tickets for his debut concert as a composer and classical pianist, her smiles wane in the face of gratitude. She rejects small kindnesses and snubs familiarity.
The occasion coincides with her sixtieth birthday and, even though Lara is proud and wants others to celebrate, she seriously undermines his confidence prior to the performance. When it seems all might not be lost for Lara, a final blow occurs. Devastated, Lara realises her biggest mistake, a simple misunderstanding, happened a long time ago.
Lara is a bittersweet, low-key tragedy about a deeply unhappy and thwarted woman. Lara pulses with resentment and frustrated familial love. Harfouch plays her part to perfection - her smiles tight her; social graces limited. Lara has no room in her life for pleasure.
The lighting is naturally dark and the interiors are unfussy. The musical performances are sublime and underscore the pain of a wasted life. Jan-Ole Gerster doesn’t pull on the heartstrings with easy sentimentality or false reconciliations. This is a more complex and resounding film.
(First Reviewed London Film Festival October 2019)