Director Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli made the film as a part-documentary, part-theatrical adaptation of an experimental novel by German author Ronald M. Schernikau. Rovinelli moves the setting from Berlin in the 1980s to contemporary New York, where a transsexual artist named Tonia (played by Rovinelli) comes to live with her boyfriend, Franz, in something of a queer commune. They share their apartment with another couple: Paul and Erika. Scenes from their everyday life—conversations, walks, sex, parties, art, political activism—are combined with the reading of excerpts from Schernikau’s work. Rovinelli establishes an unusual tempo and temperature for her story, as slow camera movement, brightly lit frames and simple compositions create an atmosphere of peace and calm. This is a unification of love, empathy and, above all, a radical discovery and rejection of rigid norms and divisions. So Pretty discusses a utopia that is both beautiful and fragile in the face of the current political climate.
Born in Brooklyn in 1988, Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli is a director, screenwriter and editor who has worked on films, music videos and commercials. Her first full-length feature film was the 2016 performative documentary Empathy. She continued her focus on carnality in her quasi-documentary feature So Pretty.
2012 We’ve Loved You So Much (short)
2015 Fuck Work (short)
2016 Empathy (doc.)
2018 So Pretty