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)
DE/FR 2022, 105 Min., Französisch, Arabisch OmU,
Regie: Philip Scheffner
Kamera: Volker Sattel.
Schnitt: Philip Scheffner
Mit: Rhim Ibrir, Thierry Cantin, Didier Cuillierier, Sadya Bekkouche