Awarded a Silver Bear for best director, I Was at Home, But was undoubtedly the most-talked-about film in the Berlinale competition. No other film left audiences with so much room for their reactions, thoughts and emotions—the press screening exploded into a cacophony of cheering and angry boos. In her film essay, Angela Schanelec observes a family—a single mother and her two children—in mourning (and thus in a deep crisis of communication). The woman’s 13-year-old son disappears for a week, and his reappearance quickly changes the dynamics of the relationship. Who is looking after who? Who is protecting who? And from what? Schanelec has always been interested in economics: framing, the body, the family, late capitalism. In her world, gestures and words remain unsynchronized: both the economical passivity of the children monotonously reciting Hamlet and the energetic extravagance of the main character (Maren Eggert), which appears in attacks of anger, panic and violent, polemic passion, seem inadequate. For her, even the purchase of a bicycle turns into a dramatic spectacle. Breaking with classical narrative and inspired by the works of Bresson, Godard and Ozu, Schanelec’s anti-psychological film—at the same time full of humor—decodes our habits and visual clichés.
Berlin IFF 2019 - Best Director
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…