A middle-aged shopkeeper in the “new” Berlin struggles to find peace and purpose in “Heidi M.,” a rewardingly low-key drama about average lives in a rapidly changing metropolis. Although too slight to make much of a theatrical dent, pic’s sociological relevance and finely drawn perfs will earn fest slots and nice tube life.
Divorced and in her late 40s, independent but sorrowful former electrician Heidi (Katrin Sass) owns a modest convenience store in what used to be the eastern sector of downtown. Handing her teenage daughter over to her ex at the airport, she embarks on a listless voyage of discovery that begins with bar-hopping and the occasional one-night stand at the urging of her pal Jacqui — and ends with an on-again, off-again relationship with aircraft electronics engineer Franz. Perfs are fine in service to Karin Astrom’s naturalistic script, with Sass (star of a long-running German TV cop show) setting the emotional pace. Czech-born helmer Michael Klier has a fine eye for the torpor of human displacement and the inherent dignity some possess in combating it. Tech credits are suitably gritty, but refreshingly free of the visual nervousness often mistaken for veracity.