Sara Regula Grauwiller

Sara Regula Grauwiller

Nina Jasmin Tabatabai

Katherine Natascha Bub

Nick Andreas Herder

Robert Horst Gunter Marx

Ella Sandra Nettelbeck

Felix Jorg Langkau

Big discovery – or rediscovery – of the Boston Festival of Women’s Cinema is Sandra Nettelbeck’s feature debut, “Loose Ends.” It played the 1997 San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and then vanished without a U.S. distributor. Now picked up by Frameline Distribution, it’s back on track to be seen as a German “Return of the Secaucus Seven.” Interesting twentysomething characters and complex interrelationships make this a good bet for fest and arthouse life.

Group of friends in Berlin is anticipating the marriage of Sara (Regula Grauwiller) and Robert (Horst Gunter Marx). Invited to the wedding are Katherine (Natascha Bub), who works with Sara at a local diner, and Nick (Andreas Herder), an actor who has gone to Hollywood to make his fortune and who unceremoniously dumped Kat several years before. Nick’s return to the scene upsets several apple carts, including Sara’s.

Another member of the group is Nina (Jasmin Tabatabai), who prefers women but can’t seem to settle on just one. Then she encounters Ella, a cab driver played by director Nettelbeck. It’s love, but can Nina give up her wandering ways?

As in “Secaucus Seven,” this is a study of a bunch of people hitting the end of their twenties and wondering if it’s time to grow up or already too late to change the patterns of their lives. Although film’s couplings are straight as well as gay, latter will no doubt draw attention because all the femme nudity is in the lesbian scenes. With the right positioning, there’s no reason pic can’t cross over to mainstream arthouses.

Tech credits are good, if low-budget, with Nettelbeck (who trained in the U.S.) having a good eye for the occasional film reference, including Nina’s calling for “Ella!” a la Stanley Kowalski. Drawbacks are the sometimes too-neat plotting, including two car accidents in quick succession, and the fact that the film is currently being shown in 16mm. Blowup to 35mm is a must.

Loose Ends

(COMEDY-DRAMA - GERMAN)

Production

A Frameline release (in U.S.) of a Luna-Film GmbH presentation, in association with ZDF. Executive producer, Gudrun Ruzickova-Steiner. Directed, written by Sandra Nettelbeck.

Crew

Camera (color, 16mm), Michael Bertl; editor, Gudrun Steinbruck; music, Kevin Brown; set designer, Explosiv, Peter Weber; costume designer, Bettina Helmi; sound, Christoph Willems, Arno Wilms, Joseph Veith; assistant director, Margarete Heitmuller. Reviewed at Boston Festival of Women's Cinema, April 17, 1999. Running time: 92 MIN.
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