One track mind
A high school running star struggles less with femininity than with the frustrations of being a girl athlete in a boy's world in the realistic Swiss drama "Strong Shoulders."
By JOSHUA TANZER
Like a typical American teenager, Sabine is obsessed with her weight, her
chest, her thighs, and chasing boys. Unlike an American, this Swiss girl
is worried that her breasts are too big and her thighs are too small. And
her interest in boys well, she's mostly interested in outrunning them.
Sabine is a high school athlete first, a girl second, and if she has any
interest in school or family, we barely see it. As headstrong as she is
talented, the young sprinter bucks against the rules of the sport, her
coach's methodical training regimen, and the culture's expectations of
schoolgirls. She secretly trains to the point of exhaustion, against her coach's orders, and she insists she should race the faster boys, not the slower girls. When a new boy, Rudi, transfers to the school and instantly becomes its best runner, Sabine gets her first crush but it's not clear whether it's the boy or just his running skills she wants to rub off on her. This pretty teenage girl is a hard case. She has the determination it takes to challenge the limits placed on her as a woman or to self-destruct trying.
|Original title: Des épaules solides.|
Directed by: Ursula Meier.
Written by: Ursula Meier, Frédéric Videau.
Cast: Louise Szpindel, Dora Jemaa, Nina Meurisse, Guillaume Gouix, Jean-Franćois Stévenin, Anne Coesens, Max Rüdlinger, Laurence Vielle, M. Piazenta.
Cinematography: Nicolas Guicheteau.
Edited by: Susana Rossberg.
In French with English subtitles.
34 West 13th St., between 6th Ave. and University
Wed., Nov. 10, 2004, 2 p.m.
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Ave. (at Second Street)
Thurs., Nov. 11, 2004, 6 p.m.|
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"Strong Shoulders" is not the classic sports movie about winning or losing the big game. It's one of those faux-docu dramas with that low-tech handheld-camera aesthetic that turns mainstream American audiences off but it's a very good study of a girl on the edge. Sabine is a gifted young person trying to grow up too fast, glorying in her successes but eaten up by her impatience. Parts of the film move slowly but other parts shock us on an intimate level with their reversal of our expectations about how girls grow up. For some viewers, the movie itself will test their patience, but this small, narrowly focused story has a measure of surprising truth as well.
|NOVEMBER 4, 2004|
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