"Fraulein"

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Ralph
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"Fraulein"

Post by Ralph » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:11 am

Cinema Village in Manhattan is one of my favorite venues for foreign films. It has three theaters, the smallest very small. It's also one of the best bargains around - tickets for seniors are $5.50 all the time, a price unmatched anywhere else.

Yesterday I saw "Fraulein," a film set in Germany (the dialogue is largely German with some Croatian). Ana, a young woman suffering from inadequately treated leukemia, takes a job at a restaurant run by Ruza, twenty-five years in Germany after leaving the old Yugoslavia. Ruza runs a very tight ship, always conscious of how hard it took her to become successful. Her restaurant serves food cafeteria style and it seems to be a place for wholesome but hardly gourmet fare. She treats her staff reasonably well but without familiarity and with strict adherence to her rules.

Ana is the bright light in the otherwise repressed work atmosphere. By degree she livens up the place to Ruza's at first annoyed and then grudgingly pleased reaction. Ana doesn't discuss her life in Sarajevo but it's clear that it wasn't fun - her brother killed himself after the hostilities ended (if they ever really have). Almost against her nature, Ruza, who enjoys a healthy but discreet sexual liaison with a regular customer, warms up to Ana and they become friends, albeit a couple mistaken by a ski resort waitress for mother and daughter.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about Ana and what her future will bring. The balance between the routine of the restaurant and the sprightliness introduced by Ana frames the story nicely.

Not a great film but a well done story with interesting characters.
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