THE IMPOSSIBLE PICTURE
After her father’s sudden death, budding 13-year-old filmmaker Johanna uses her camera to sort out fact from fiction, memory from truth.Before his sudden death, Johanna’s father told her, “You have to be quick if you want to see anything, because everything disappears.” Yet she doesn’t believe this. “You have to keep looking,” she asserts.
After her father’s funeral, the 13-year-old moves to her grandmother’s home with her mother and younger sister Lissi. Now, we see Johanna’s world as she records what she sees with an 8mm camera. A victim of childhood polio, Johanna frequently catches her crutches in the gaze of her camera’s eye. We sometimes see her reflection in mirrors, but mostly she captures everyday domestic events in the lives of her Viennese family in the late 1950s: her grandmother cleaning; Christmas celebrations; family members reminiscing over photographs; adults recalling the aftermath of the Second World War; Lissi listening to radio reports about the possibility of a manned space mission.
But Johanna soon learns memories are unreliable and things are not always what they seem. At home, women respect her grandmother. But on the street, they avoid her. When she films her grandmother’s cooking club, she sees women having tea and cake. But other young women in the background appear nervous, remote. In the kitchen, her mother and grandmother discuss “who’s next.” Towels and bowls of steaming water are carried in and out of a back room. Loud music drowns out screaming. There’s talk of knitting needles and catheters.
Through her camera, we comprehend Johanna’s growing realization of her grandmother’s illegal work. “Our memory is so unreliable, sometimes what we see might as well be the future,” she pronounces. Yet greater insight into her future is revealed when Johanna becomes the subject of her own camera.
North American Premiere
Genre History, Experimental
Director & Screenplay Sandra Wollner
Cinematography Timm Kröger
Cast Jana McKinnon, Eva Linder, Alexander E. Fennon, Andrea Schramek, Isabel Schmidt, Helmut Wiesner, David Jakob, Isabella Simon
Producers Andrea Grassl, Anja Schmidt
Production Company Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg/Ludwigsburg
Length 67 min
Awards Filmadrid Festival Internacional de Cine (Best Film in Official Competition), Bolzano Film Festival (Best Fiction), Göteborg International Film Festival (Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award)
Since 2012, Sandra is studying documentary film at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. THE IMPOSSIBLE PICTURE is her first feature film.