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  • This German/Swiss co-production (filmed in Switzerland)is about three generations of women from Bosnia-Herzgovina. A young woman,living from day to day,a middle aged owner/manager of a restaurant & an older worker. It manages to nicely weave a trilogy of stories on how these women got to where they are (and why). I couldn't help notice that the movie seemed to be shot live on high definition video,rather than standard 35mm film stock,which gives it a certain look (mind you,I'm not beefing). Das Fraulein (or as it's being distributed in the U.S. as merely Fraulein) is a lovingly written/directed & acted film (video?) about 3 women trying to make do with their lives,and the hard knocks they've all been dealt with.
  • Fraulein (2006)

    A remarkable, small, deeply felt, just slightly offbeat film about what must have been a common and terribly real and depressing reality. Several women from the former Yugoslavia are living in German speaking Switzerland, and the old ties, old animosities, and new ties and friendships, are poignant and delicately worked out.

    Sometimes low budget films revel in their lack of polish, as if announcing they are rebellious. "Fraulein" is really not at all an underground film, but rather just a serious one working within some limitations of money and time. And they make the most of it on every level. Above all, the main actresses--the older woman running the little restaurant and the young woman with some undisclosed inner trauma--are searingly right on. The one is repressed and responsible and a bit lifeless, living to survive, and proud to be surviving. The other is a little wild and unpredictable, full of life but with a recklessness that seems unwarranted. At first.

    Both women are sad and lonely, and that leads to their needing each other, though both are so stubbornly independent they have trouble coming together as friends. When they do, in small ways, the screen lights up and you keep thinking, yes, yes, at last. You understand how hard it is to find true companionship, and even when you do, it doesn't work out quite right. Still, they both offer cracks in each other's worlds, and we get sucked in for the joy of it, and the eventual disappointment.

    A surprising film, very moving, and yet quietly so. Give it a chance to get under your skin. At first, watching just the older woman, you think this is some East Berlin throwback and it's just sad and slow. But it's all for a good end, and things complicate. And the two women, once you get to know them, will win you over.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Das Fräulein" or "Fraulein" is a Swiss/German co-production from 2006, so this one had its 10th anniversary last year already. It is the most known work by director Andrea Staka and she is also one of the several writers in here. The film received a pretty solid deal of awards recognition and it is a relatively brief film at only roughly 75 minutes. This is also a positive factor actually because the film dragged on more than just a few occasions and I never managed to develop any interest in the female protagonist (played by Mirjana Karanovic) or any of the supporting players. One reason may be that I do not really know any of the actors in here, another would be that I have never been to Switzerland and it is more of a Swiss than a German film for sure. But there are also Eastern European components to this one, but this already becomes visible pretty quickly if you read the actress' names.

    As for the film itself, it is certainly more on the bleak and realistic side than just for pure entertainment purposes. This is on the one hand good, but on the other hand also a disadvantage as they need to elaborate more properly in terms of character studies and plot developments and this is quite a challenge. i would say it is a challenge that the filmmaker here unfortunately did not succeed with as I not only did not develop any interest in the central characters, but also as after seeing the film I cannot really come up with one definite reason why you should check this one out, why this was a convincing watch. So I certainly do not agree at all with all the awards the movie won and as I see Staka is still making films these days it seems I hope she managed to step her game up in the last game. This one here gets a thumbs-down. Not recommended.
  • sergepesic19 December 2011
    Three women of three different generations, all of Balkan heritage, live their lives lost and homesick in Switezerland. Ruza is a Serb, Mila Croatian and Ana probably urban Bosnian Muslem. But this gentle, thoughtful movie doesn't go there. This is not about ethnic hatred and intolerance, and the bloody war in former Yugoslavia, at least not in any direct way. These three women and their plight bring closer the curse of immigration. The desire for better or safer life, deeply intertwined with loss of roots, belonging and even sense of self. Three women touch each other's lives, and continue their arduous journey called life. Director Andrea Staka doesn't use cheep, tawdry means. She just tells a story as it is. Mirjana Karanovic, Ljubica Jovic and Marija Skaricic, three marvelous actors perfectly cast in this gem of a movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Somewhere in Yugoslavia, Ruza(Mirjana Karajovich) left behind a man who didn't follow her younger self to Germany. Presumably, this is the man we see cutting branches off some denuded trees in the opening moments of "Das Fraulein", a film that conveys the same American celluloidal myth that women can't have it all. When the man's pruning shears cuts through one more indistinguishable branch(symbolic of women like Ruza who left their homeland), the screen abruptly goes black, and the first image we see after that severing, is an overhead shot of Ruza in bed, no longer a fraulein, but a spinster, childless to boot. Not satisfied with being a mere branch on some tree(a patriarchal metaphor), Ruza came to Germany, learned a new language, learned anew, period. But the modestly successful restuaranteer is not happy, far from it. That's the price a woman has to pay for choosing a career over family. Quite literally, the filmmaker shows that Ruza made her bed and now she must lie in it. The visage of this middle-aged woman tells the whole story; there is no love story, only her canteen, and the endless counting of money. Without variation, Ruza gets up every morning, takes the graffiti-filled elevator in her apartment complex, and walks to work in an industrial landscape dotted by warehouses and train tracks. Like clockwork, Mila(Ljubica Jovic, her cloyingly pleasant underling, waits for Ruza to unlock the front door. In her office, the only photograph we see is a lonely photograph of a younger Ruza posing with the restaurant facade, at the opening. This is what she sacrificed a husband and children for. Ruza has been married to this canteen for twenty-five years. Her unsmiling face indicates that it's time for a divorce.

    Meanwhile, a new has just arrived in town, a drifter from war-torn Sarajevo, a Bosnian. Ana(Marija Skaricic) survived the war, but will she survive leukaemia? After spending a night with friends, Ana wanders into Ruza's canteen and gets hired as a waitress. How long will it take for Ana to take over the canteen and inject a shot of "joie de vivre" into its zombie-like visitors, especially Ruza, who sees her former fraulein self in the new girl. Not long. At seventy-five minutes, the short running time mirror's Ana's sense of urgency to make every minute count. In one sequence, contrary to her co-worker's presumptions about their boss, Ruza has no objections to her birthday being celebrated. Ana's gambit pays off. As the older fraulein dances, the filmmaker uses exaggerated light to document the exact moment of Ruza's rejuvenation, as her hair flies around in the heightened shining that takes years off the restauranteer's leathery skin. Light is used to signify youth, as in another scene where Ruza and Ana run like schoolgirls through a downpour; the light catching the trajectory of the raindrops and the bounce of the women's hair. But Ana's own light is wavering, exemplified by the strobe light of the night clubs which Ruza's charge frequents. The intermittent dark, the micro-second pauses between the electric breathing is where Ana's destiny lies. But before the darkness shines permanently out of Ana's diseased body, she teaches Ruza how to let people into her life again. While "Das Fraulein" can be overly schematic, there's enough emotional truth between both frauleins that outweigh the cliché of the unmarried and childless woman who fixates on the younger woman as a daughter figure. Ana's surprisingly guarded side prevents the film from devolving into easy sentimentality. To the viewer's surprise, Ana has an emotional stuntedness which prevents her from getting close to people. Whereas Ruza was looking for somebody to love, Ana has an insularity about her that won't allow the child of war to love back.
  • I saw this film in Thessaloniki,Greece film festival in November 2006 and I was simply amused by all the matters that occurred in it! But I wouldn't like to talk about the plot...

    Right the previous day I had seen Grbavica, a film by Jasmila Zbanic- a young director from Bosnia Herzegovina , starring Mirjana Karanovic, the most known actress around the Balkan countries (except maybe for Greece). Grbavica was plain, interesting but totally in control and simply a nice film with a spicy subject matter. Most enjoyable of all,Mirjana Karanovic! I was happy enough to see all her charm, if u can call it that way, in a fresh film by an upcoming director but when I saw Das Fräulein, then I finally realized the depths of her acting...

    Sorry for making such an intro but this film is about her and if you get to realize what she is standing for , everything makes a lot more sense. Of course she is not the main dish and that's also an exciting thing!

    Director Andrea Staka made a film to talk about what these people carry with them, what they are made of. We don't really know... We don't... It's not about characters in a film, not about a plot, it's about the actors,the director,the people of Bosnia,Yugoslavia,Serbia.. Political backgrounds, immigration, war,personal past all mixed up with youth, health and life perspective...

    ... all packed up in a simple, honest way... That's what it is about!
  • meow917 December 2010
    Fraulein starts off strongly, as the viewer tries to figure out who the women are and what is going on. The problem is that after we figure it out, we're left grasping at empty air for something more. Are there any more great insights to be had about immigrant psyche or intergenerational female dynamics? Not really. The insights we do achieve are minor and predictable. Only one of the characters undergoes any significant change during the movie, and this change is also predictable.

    The details of the movie are done well, the colours, the sounds, the camera angles. With strong details but weak theme, this movie ends up feeling myopic, a feeling only underscored by the many close-up shots and the rarity of wide-angle, panoramic shots. There's a distinct lack of context - this story about immigrants, young and old, could take place anywhere. I didn't even know this was a Swiss film until I started reading other reviews.

    Some movies feel intimate when they concentrate on the immediate details, as this movie does. However, the emotional remoteness of all the characters prevents any intimacy from developing, and instead all that's left is myopia.
  • This many times awarded Swiss movie was produced by "Dschoint Ventr", an innovative Swiss film organization that is eager to distribute Swiss movies world wide. Fact is that Swiss movies are almost unknown in the US. In Switzerland, even many filmmakers are convinced that the topics are mostly too Swiss-specific and that great Swiss actors do not exist. So far for the present. For the past, Switzerland's greatest filmmaker, Kurt Früh (1915-79) is nowadays highly criticized for the alleged lack of disclosing the miserable social situation in the 50ies and 60ies and for having strongly used Italian Neo-Realist movies in order to make his own films. I assure you: both is not true. But nevertheless, not a single one of many hundreds of Swiss movies made between the silent time and den 70ies are available on international DVDs.

    Social topics have a long tradition in Swiss film. I just remember Kurt Früh's "Bäckerei Zürrer" where the conflicts between the early Italian immigrants and the indigenous population in Zürich are focused, or later especially in the movies of Kurt Gloor (1942-1998), f.ex. "Die Plötzliche Einsamkeit Des Konrad Steiner". Not to forget the movies of Alain Tanner, although his movies are all in French and thus form a minority in the rest of Switzerland. Also the present movie deals with immigrants, has a strong social vein, but unlike Früh's and Gloor's movie, you hardly hear Swiss German spoken. The three main actresses - famous artists imported from Ex-Yugoslawia as if there would not be enough talented Yugoslawian women familiar with the jobs shown in the movie - speak broken High German. From the rest of the cast only the two men - Andrea Zogg and the Spaniard Pablo Aguilar - are to be mentioned: Zogg is to see about four or five times for possibly 10 minutes, Aguilar for totally perhaps 2 minutes, and the rest of the crew for fragments of seconds. So, an interaction between the Yugoslawian immigrants and the Swiss population is out of the question and the movie is showing nothing else than how the three women get along, partly speaking Serbian/Croatian and partly broken German. In this movie, there is no trace of the wit, the humor, the tears-causing miseries and the whole empathy of Kurt Früh's movies, but nothing either of the socialist problems brought up in Kurt Gloor's films. This movie was produced in Switzerland, that is all. It could play anywhere in Europe, there is nothing Swiss-specific in this movie, except perhaps the five seconds when your hear Zurich's "Radio 24".

    Let me tell you one thing: As long as Kurt Früh's and Kurt Gloor's movies are not subtitled, engraved in international DVDs and available around the world, such mediocre and questionable films like "Das Fräulein" have no right to go around the world.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A young woman has come to Switzerland from Bosnia, and gets a job at a cafeteria run by a joyless martinet woman from that region, and another woman from that region is a coworker. Friends and relatives of the latter two women are also in the mix, while the young woman dances in clubs and has various lovers. She seems happy compared to the two glum older women-but she has seen the then-recent war in her country and has her own dark secrets which are revealed.

    The young woman tries and succeeds in bringing happiness to the cafeteria owner, but much of the movie is confusing, and was probably not meant for a non-European audience who probably would understand the protagonists' situation better. The movie just didn't cut it for me.