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November

In "November," neighborhood dynamics shift in disturbing ways when a disillusioned housewife wins 3 million Swiss francs in the lottery. Vividly etched characters spring to life in well cast and neatly played tragi-comedy detailing the resentments simmering beneath comfortable middle-class suburban life. Talent scouts should take note.

With:
With: Charlotte Heinimann, Muriel Rieben, Max Rudlinger, Elias Arens, Martin Rapold, Lilian Naef, Oscar Bingisser, Stefan Gubser.

In “November,” neighborhood dynamics shift in disturbing ways when a disillusioned housewife wins nearly 3 million Swiss francs ($2.5 million) in the national lottery. Vividly etched characters spring to life in well cast and neatly played tragi-comedy detailing the resentments simmering beneath comfortable middle-class suburban life. First time writer-director Luki Frieden displays chilling assurance in charting a family’s downfall in the wake of a windfall. Talent scouts should take note.

Mired in a bedroom community outside Bern, Marianne Brunner (Charlotte Heinimann) doesn’t have much in common with her businessman husband, Paul (Max Rudlinger), except their 11-year-old daughter, Yvonne (Muriel Rieben). Yvonne likes hanging out with sweet but shiftless America-obsessed slacker Iceman (Martin Rapold) and dreams of having a swimming pool in the yard. When Marianne hits the jackpot, her initial glee is thwarted as, insidiously, envy gets the upper hand. One of many films in which a trip to the U.S. is seen as both consummate treat and ultimate escape, modest but affecting pic explores the moral vertigo unleashed by enormous change. Spare, clean lensing is a nice fit with tale of messy emotions and yearnings that money alone can’t quell.

November

Switzerland

Production: A Prohelvetia presentation of a Carac Film production. (International sales: Carac, Bern, Switzerland.) Produced by Theres Scherer-Kollbrunner. Directed, written by Luki Frieden.

Crew: Camera (color, Super-16), Frank Blau; editor, Christof Schertenleib; music, Peter von Siebenthal; art director, Anna Opladen; costume designer, Tania D'Ambrogio. Reviewed at Chicago Film Festival, (World Cinema), Oct. 15, 2004. German dialogue. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Charlotte Heinimann, Muriel Rieben, Max Rudlinger, Elias Arens, Martin Rapold, Lilian Naef, Oscar Bingisser, Stefan Gubser.

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