Locarno 2013 – Competition
She likes to experiment with vegetables while masturbating and thinks that body hygiene is greatly overrated. She shocks those around her by speaking her mind in a most unladylike manner on topics that many people would not even dare to think of: meet Helen Memel!
Helen (CARLA JURI) is a handful for her divorced parents (MERET BECKER and AXEL MILBERG) – yet all she longs for is to see her family reunited. She only feels truly at home with her friend and soul mate Corinna (MARLEN KRUSE), who is her partner in crime as she breaks one social taboo after the other.
One day Helen has an intimate shaving accident and ends up in hospital. It is not only the head doctor, Prof Notz (EDGAR SELGE), who considers her an unusual case: she makes waves throughout the hospital with her fierce wit and candid manner. Helen sees a chance to reconcile her parents at her sickbed and finds an ally in her male nurse, Robin (CHRISTOPH LETKOWSKI), who well and truly sweeps her off her feet...
Based on the best-selling novel by Charlotte Roche… Explosive second feature from the director of the award-winning COMBAT GIRLS.
Carla Juri as Helen
Marlen Kruse as Corinna
Christoph Letkowski as Robin
An engagingly freewheeling delve into sexual and physical areas many films will choose to avoid… Channeling Trainspotting with a dash of Run Lola Run, it is driven by a charismatic performance by rising star Carla Juri, whose character’s anal obsessions take her off on a wild and oddly romantic journey… A bold, colourful and watchable film, directed with style and an engaging sense of the oddball by David Wnendt.. Director David Whendt (whose last film was the abrasive Combat Girls in 2012) blends magical realism with sequences aimed to shock, but keeps the tone bright and breezy despite the provocative material he layers into the film. There are moments that will shock – a scene of four chaps masturbating onto a pizza comes to mind – but the film is never really offensive…it is simply offering a provocative sheen to an oddly tender central story of a girl looking for love… The revelation of Wetlands is the dynamic and charming performance from Swiss actress Carla Juri (who looks like a young Meg Ryan circa Top Gun) whose verve and intelligence shine through as she dominates a film that is littered with fine performances (Meret Becker as her mother is especially memorable). Helen is a bold, unconventional and complex character and it is to Juri’s credit that she manages to make her oddly tender and driven by her own sense of love and hope.
— Mark Adams, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
Swiss actress Carla Juri explodes onto the scene in young German director David Wnendt's pop-savvy adaptation of Charlotte Roch's controversial bestseller… Topics as varied as the use of phallic vegetables; intentional lack of intimate hygiene and the pain in the behind that hemorrhoids and anal operations can be -- and all that from a female perspective -- are what made German TV personality Charlotte Roche's novel Wetlands a controversial and much-discussed literary phenomenon. The beauty of young writer-director David Wnendt’s eponymous film adaptation, headlined by an explosive Carla Juri, is not that all these subjects are pretty much treated as candidly as in the book but that the final result is also an accessible, stylish and ultimately even sweet film… Wetlands has cult hit written all over it and should do well with Generation-Y viewers not only in Germany, where it’ll be released Aug. 22, but also further afield, especially (though not exclusively) where the novel was also a bestseller… What makes the film so accessible despite its controversial subject matter is Wnendt’s total command of tone, which is never vulgar or intentionally out to shock. Instead, it filters what’s being discussed through Helen’s unique, innocent if far from child-like personality and occasionally uses humor to push things close to farce… Juri, a multi-lingual, U.S.-trained actress from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, is perfectly cast as the independent gal who’ll try everything. Her pitch-perfect performance sets the tone, combining chirpiness and optimism with a darker undertow as it becomes clear that a childhood trauma, gradually revealed in short flashbacks, is slowly eating her up from the inside… Further reinforcing the idea that Wetlands is not a controversy-tinged art film but something for the masses is the flashy camerawork from Jakub Bejnarowicz and fast-paced cutting from Andreas Wodraschke, which suggest David Fincher’s work on music videos and visually restless titles like Fight Club. Colorful production and costume design by Jenny Roesler and Elke von Sivers, respectively, further complete the attention-grabbing package.