Germany, 2000, 90 minutes, Colour.
Alice Deekeling, Rene Soutendijk.
Directed by Ulle Wagner.
Anna Wunder is set in the early '60s in Germany. The focus is on 11 year old Anna and her brother Rolli, 8 years old. Their mother Sophie works in a bar and as a prostitute. She also drinks heavily. Things come to a crisis when Sophie has a breakdown, Anna discovers that Franz, who works in the town, is her uncle and that her father disappeared after the war, going to the Foreign Legion. After her mother dies and her brother goes into welfare, she runs away to France to find her father. There is a resolution of sorts as the two brothers find each other.
The film is a first feature by Ulle Wagner, has an excellent performance by Renee Soutendijk as Sophie and Alice Deekeling is a pensive Anna.
1. A German memory, the perspective of 2000 on the 1960s? The political situation, East and West Germany, Adenauer and elections? The post war rebuilding?
2. The setting of the town, the fields and the river, Anna at home in the fields, the frogs? The contrast with the town, the bars, the apartments, the streets, school? Musical score?
3. The focus on Anna, seeing her in the fields, the contrast with being at the bar and seeing her mother perform? Her care for her mother? For Rolli? At school and her cleverness at mathematics? Her encounters with Mickey and his attraction to her? Her dislike of Franz? Her longing to know more about her father? The scenes at home, the interactions with her mother, trying to protect her? The drinking, her being taken away, the asylum? The return, the mail from France, her buying the drink and her death? Anna and her helplessness? Her trying to support with deliveries of magazines? Her going with her uncle, her room, the memories of her father? Cutting her hair, going on the road, with Oskar and his giving her a lift, finding the town, finding her father? The discussion, Franz coming, trying to find a resolution for the future?
4. Sophie and her background, her relationship with the two brothers? Playing one off against the other? Her disdain of Franz? Love for Fritz, the wedding, the war, his return, going to the Foreign Legion? His staying in France, unknown? Sophie and her performances at the bar with the coins, prostitution at home? Her love for her children, meals, care of them? Her wanting to change, her being refused a loan? Anna going to Franz and trying to keep it a secret? Franz and his proposal in the church, Sophie's reaction? Her continuing to drink, spend the money, pawning her coat? Being taken away, the treatment, her return? Things seemingly going well? The letter from France, finding her daughter's money, drinking herself to death? The pathos of her life?
5. Franz, in the town, devotion to Sophie? Anna's dislike, approaching him for the loan? His care, the proposal in the church? Taking Anna after Sophie's death? The room, the key? Pursuing her and finding her, the reconciliation with his brother? Fritz as the absent father, in the war, Nazi, going to the Foreign Legion, knowing or not knowing about his daughter? His daughter?
6. The kindly people in the town: Oskar, friendship, the truck, his daughter? The bike and the deliveries? Mickey and his attraction? The other people in the town, the pregnant woman, Sophie helping when she gave birth? The schoolteacher? The contrast with the welfare people and their sternness? The staff at the asylum where Sophie was taken?
7. A portrait of a troubled family, children's strength, parents' weakness? The need for family and love? The need to find solutions and resolutions?