Ted Fendt’s enigmatic and unhurried conversational feature offers existential issues in a casual, naturalistic narrative
Vienna was a pitstop between adolescence and adulthood for Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Before Sunrise, and this short, equally conversational 16mm feature by Ted Fendt picks up that baton. At one point one of its three twentysomething seekers, Mia (Mia Sellman), refers to an anthropological rites of passage theory she has picked up during her studies – and the “liminal”, uncertain phase in the middle. If insomnia, missing wallets and annoying small-press owners qualify as rites of passage, the liminal phase is where we are.
Floaty, soft-smiling insomniac Daniela (Daniela Zahlner) makes a stop in Berlin to visit Mia, a quietly intense master’s student she met while travelling in New York; the two chat about sleep issues, loll around the city, fail to go out dancing with Natascha (Natascha Manthe), a colleague of Mia’s who is thinking of bailing on her studies. Then Mia heads in the other direction, to Vienna, and life is equally indeterminate there. Daniela ponders whether a job in a museum is for her, Natascha ends up crashing at her place, and they get mansplained at by another travelling acquaintance of Mia’s at a dud house party.