France/Belgium, In French with English subtitles, 2016, 94 min, digital
US THEATRICAL PREMIERE RUN!
Distributed by MUBI; special thanks to Daniel Kasman & Lilly Riber.
Hailed by Screen International as a “confident, witty debut,” BADEN BADEN charts the trials and tribulations of the waifish Ana, played brilliantly by Salomé Richard, a twenty-six-year-old returning home to Strasbourg for the summer after living abroad long enough to feel out of place everywhere. Like many in her generation, Ana lives a life teetering on the edge of comedy and melancholy. She is strong but full of self-doubt, tomboyish but sweet, temperamental and impulsive, innately clumsy, vulnerable, erotic — and rebellious. Her embodiment of contradictions presents a charming, fascinating, and, above all, thoroughly complex portrait of a young person.
BADEN BADEN is a deceptively low-key feature debut from French filmmaker Rachel Lang, anchored by a slyly compelling, effortlessly confident lead performance by Salomé Richard, Lang’s alter ego and star of her two previous short films. Equally adept at narrative minimalism, psychological portraiture, and deadpan comedy, BADEN BADEN is a character study of great penetration and charm.
“Following a long absence…the aimless 26-year-old protagonist Ana returns to her hometown of Strasbourg and attempts to figure her life out. Nothing extraordinary happens – she meets old friends, reconnects with family members, has casual flings, hooks up with her ex – but the intelligent and unostentatious manner in which Lang charts Ana’s emotional progression is extremely refreshing considering the irritating artificiality that characterizes most films addressing this period of transition, especially when it comes to female protagonists. […] This approach allows Lang to broach such subjects as abortion and infidelity in a level-headed way that reflects reality, wisely eschewing both cliché and overdramatization to achieve a mature, engaging, and effectively feminist take on a familiar story.” – Giovanni Marchini Camia, REVERSE SHOT