Angela Schanelec is one of the key figures of the Berlin School along with Maren Ade, Christian Petzold and Valeski Grisebach. The formation emerged in the 1990s and influenced European and international arthouse Cinema in the most recent two decades through its avant-garde film language and accurate social criticism.
In her films, Schanelec primarily shows portraits of women and their experiences in neoliberal society. She looks closely at the changing social roles, dilemmas and challenges that women face in a rapidly changing world - as well as the price they pay for personal freedom and expanded field of activity. What forms do interpersonal relationships take in post-modern society? Schanelec investigates problems related to family, platonic and romantic relationships - revealing emotions that usually work in secret. Her films don't offer solutions, they ask questions. What is motherhood, what is love and what is loyalty in a world where traditional roles have already worn out while the new ones have yet to be written. Or maybe, at the deepest existential level, nothing has changed, because feelings evolve much slower than culture. The raw but sensitive way in which Schanelec looks at her oft-alienated characters exhibits their – and the director’s own – vulnerability, thanks to which she becomes not a critic, but an empathetic observer, a participant of modern life in the big city.
Her experience as an actress manifests itself in her anti-psychological way of leading actors and unique film language that is based not on dialogues, but on gestures and choreography. The world of fleeting gestures, hesitations and emotions that cannot be easily named is full of secrets. This is a very visual cinema in which the narrative is based on movement and images. Avant-garde - but not formal, because its ultimate goal is not visuality, but affect: the desire to reach those deeply hidden feelings.
Angela Schanelec is a director who is considered part of the Berlin School, which took shape in the 1990s and also includes Christian Petzold, Valeska Grisebach and Thomas Arslan. Her radical, experimental style is characterized by, among other things, long shots, ellipses and an anti-psychological style of acting. For years, she has been working with Maren Eggert, who also plays the lead role in I Was at Home, But. Schanelec’s films have been presented at festivals in Berlin, Cannes and Locarno. She is a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg.
1993 Ich bin den Sommer über in Berlin geblieben / I Stayed in Berlin All Summer
1995 Das Glück meiner kleinen Schwester / My Sister's Good Fortune
1998 Plätze in Städten / Places in Cities
2001 Mein langsames Leben / Passing Summer
2007 Nachmittag / Afternoon
2016 Der traumhafte Weg / The Dreamed Path
2019 Byłam w domu, ale… / Ich war zuhause, aber / I Was at Home, But…