Marie Kreutzer (director)
15 June 2020 (released)
20 June 2020
High flying business consultant Lola Wegenstein (Valerie Pachner) career is on the up from an already high position. Working on a contract that will pay financial and reputational dividends she’s also having an affair with her boss Elise (Mavie Hörbiger), though that is kept under the radar away from colleagues. It’s power-play reminiscent of the 80’s working all hours culture with nary a break brought right up to date with desks laden with laptops and spreadsheets.
Could there be a fly in the ointment? That would depend on your view about having a schizophrenic sister Conny (Pia Hierzegger) who calls you up during meetings telling you that she’s being abused at the home that she is confined to.
Lola is tacitly Conny’s carer though the reality is that with Conny sectioned it’s the home that are looking after her. She has a flat but when Lola visits it is quite clear that Conny can’t look after herself. The sisters have a hot and cold relationship with Conny’s mental condition fluctuating depending on drugs and counselling for stability. She wants to move in with Lola, who is reluctant what with her career and personal life blooming.
What is also preying on Lola’s mind is that their mother also suffered from mental illness eventually committing suicide and with Conny having the condition there’s that nag that she too may succumb. Certainly some poor decisions at work suggest that she is either over-doing things or her deep-seated fears are being realised.
Marie Kreutzer, who wrote and directed the film, has delicately balanced a number of very sensitive issues into a story that is a slow-burn becoming compulsive while being deeply moving and by the same token casting a harsh eye on current social mores and currents such as harassment and poverty.
Lola’s secrecy regarding her sister’s condition is a reflection of the ultra-competitive culture of her workplace that any sign of weakness could affect her standing among colleagues. Her relationship with Elise is more nuanced in that they are colleagues working on the same projects as well as lovers which clearly has conflict of interest all over it.
It’s sensitively directed and beautifully paced with a singular soundtrack from Kyrre Kvam underlining the shifts from whitewashed home, squalid flat to the sterile offices and modern sleek lines of Lola’s flat. The acting is quite superb as Pachner struggles internally with her fears, obligations and responsibilities. Hierzegger is also excellent relating Conny’s dreadful illness and building a character that one can only sympathise with.
The Ground Beneath My Feet is now available to stream or download from all major UK digital platforms – including Sky Store, Virgin Media, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play and the BFI Player