• Grand Prix of Honor


« I’m happy. It’s that simple », says Isabel.

All around her, everything seems to be very complicated, though: Christian loves her, but he lives with his half-sister Ariane. No-one knows what to do. Christian and Ariane speak to each other in Berlin’s dark and cold streets. Christian and Isabel kiss each other indoors where nobody hears anything. A friend of Christian’s asks him: if he were to draw a prize from a hat, which would he choose? A schoolmate of Ariane’s and Isabel’s ends up killing himself. And Christian leaves Ariane for Isabel.

Unlike many other ones, this love triangle does not force a man to choose between two women embodying two extremes: a mother versus a slut, comfort against adventure, or familiarity against novelty. We see three individuals give way to their feelings, overwhelmed by their desire. They are looking for the place they belong to in relation to one another; they go for walks; take the bus and the subway without following a clear path; they have lunch with friends who don’t seem to be asking themselves what’s going on, but who regularly ask each other if they’re happy, and try to cover the city’s noise with their voices.

So much escapes them. « You were going to leave anyway, weren’t you? », Ariane asks Christian as he flies down the stairs without an answer. Many things escape us too: which of the two women is speaking in the title when she says « my sister »? Which one is happy – to be left or to be free at last, worried or in love? Angela Schanelec’s first feature-length film, which is also her graduation film from the German Academy of Cinema and Television in Berlin, immediately touches what we often would rather not see: everything influencing our lives and have no control over, everything we’ll never be able to understand. (M.H.)

  • Grand Prix of Honor

Technical sheet

Germany / 1995 / Color / 35 mm / 85’

Original version: German.
Subtitles: English.
Script, Editing: Angela Schanelec.
Photography: Reinhold Vorschneider.
Sound: Herbert Wüst.
Casting: Anna Bolk, Wolfgang Michael, Angela Schanelec, Michael Marteens, Margit Bendokat, Andreas Herder, Jirka Berthke, Lukas Confurius, Katharina Linder, Johannes Schütz.
Production: dffb, Luna Film, MDR, SFB.
Distribution: Shellac (Thomas Ordonneau).