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Brownian Movement

Nanouk Leopold
Netherlands, Germany, Belgium  2010 / 102’

Imagine a football stadium filled to the brim with people. Imagine also that a giant balloon is placed inside, filling the stadium’s central space. If everyone in the stadium dashes forward at once to push the balloon upwards, the forces they apply from all directions will counteract one another. The balloon will not move in the slightest until some of the participants weaken in their enthusiasm. Even then, from a helicopter television camera, the balloon would still seem immobile. But close-ups would reveal that its surface moves ever so slightly. This is Brownian movement.

At first glance, Charlotte and Max’s relationship, too, seems static. However, a closer look at Charlotte (Sandra Hüller) reveals a growing unrest in her features, a mysterious inner upheaval. We first see her in a moment where her composure succumbs to her body’s elusive impulses. The determined woman approaches the problem analytically, as if it were a part of her research work. As she attempts to get at the source of her turmoil, she sleeps with her physically unprepossessing patients in an antiseptic, one-room flat. Nanouk Leopold performs a vivisection of the functioning of the senses, removing layer after layer until we see the void at the core.

Nanouk Leopold

Leopold was born in 1968 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where she studied film, also taking visual arts at the Rotterdam Academy. At the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht, she received the Tuschinski Award for her graduation film, Weekend (1998). She took part in No More Heroes, a programme for debuting filmmakers whose projects focused on individuals consciously turning away from society, which allowed her to make her first feature film, Îles flottantes (2001). Her debut and three subsequent films (Guernsey, Wolfsbergen, and Brownian Movement) form a women’s tetralogy that focuses on interpersonal relations and the loneliness of the crowd.

Selected filmography

1997 Marseille 1–2 (short)

1998 Weekend (short)

2001 Îles flottantes

2005 Guernsey

2007 Wolfsbergen

2010 Ruchy Browna / Brownian Movement

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Cast & Crew

director Nanouk Leopold
screenplay Nanouk Leopold
cinematography Frank van den Eeden
editing Katharina Wartena
music Harry de Wit
cast Sandra Hüller, Dragan Bakema, Sabine Timoteo, Ryan Brodie, Frieda Pittoors
producer Stienette Bosklopper, Ellen De Waele, Herbert Schwering
production Circe Films, Coin Film, Serendipity films, Bella Cohen Films, VPRO
sales Films Distribution
language English, French
colouration colour