Because her mother Eva (Nina Proll) was imprisoned, Jasmin (Sophie Stockinger) grew up with a foster family. Now Eva is free again, but can’t really cope with her child and sends Jasmin away again and again. Instead of spending the summer holidays with her foster parents in Italy, Jasmin runs off and convinces Eva to spend a couple of days in a small pension near the woods with her. The two get to know each other again and the 14-year-old Jasmin almost demands a relationship from her released mother…

Talea means cion or sprout and that’s precisely what this film is about. Of course the, by wonderfully played b Nina Proll, mother is also a lead character, but Sophie Stockinger’s Jasmin is actually leading the story. Long tracking shots follow her bike rides, a dream like sequence shows her lost in her dance and her knowledge aligns with the viewers. Director Katharina Mückstein stays very close to her protagonist, but leaves all interpretation to the spectators. There’s not a lot of talking, not a lot of action and not a lot of information. We neither know why Eva was in prison nor how Jasmin got along with her foster parents. But although or because we get so little information very precise images of emotions, moods and relationships form in front of our inner eyes.

Talea is a wonderful mother-daughter-story of longing, pride, enduring and especially love. Fabulous actors make it the festival favourite it is and one can clearly detect that Katharina Mückstein studied with fantastic Michael Haneke. It’s a great Austrian debut film that will hopefully make it to the German cinemas soon.

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