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My Friend From Faro (2008)



Directer:Nana Neul   Producer:Hejo Emons, Stefanbert, Ralph Schwingel   

Writter:Nana Neul   Music:Jörg Follert   Cinematography:Leah Striker   Editor:Dora Vajda  

Running time:90 min   Country:Germany   Language:German, Portuguese  Genre:Drama Subtitle: English Starring:Anjorka Strechel ... Mel Wandel, Lucie Hollmann ... Jenny Schmidt,
Manuel Cortez ... Nuno, Florian Panzner ... Knut Wandel, Tilo Prückner ... Willi Wandel,
Isolda Dychauk ... Bianca, Kai-Peter Malina ... Bernd (as Kai Malina),
Philipp Quest ... Malte Julischka Eichel ... Vicky




ҧ:2 wins

Czech Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2008 Won Best Film Main Jury Award for Best Feature Film
Nana Neul
Max Ophüls Festival
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2008 Won Screenplay Award Nana Neul

Eternal daydreamer Mel (Anjorka Strechel) can''t wait to quit her sucky catering job and fly to her dream destination: Portugal. Things change when the beautiful Jenny (Lucie Hollmann) literally crashes into her life when Mel nearly runs her over in her classic BMW. It is love at first sight, however there is just one problem: Jenny mistakenly assumes Mel to be a boy. Despite this, the pair become boyfriend and girlfriend. With Mel attempting to disguise her true gender at every turn, her journey from tomboy to out lesbian is fraught with life-defining dilemmas and sweet surprises.

Nana Neul’s 2008 effort My Friend From Faro (Mein Freund Aus Faro) follows the story of Melanie (Strechel), a sexually ambiguous-looking teen who is assumed to be a boy by a 14 year old girl she meets named Jenny (Hollmann). Mel decides to perpetuate the lie, calling herself Miguel, and the two fall in love, Jenny completely unaware of Mel’s true sex.

Inspired by a story a cab driver once recounted to director Nana Neul, this is still a tale we’ve seen variations of many times before – for example with Boys Don’t Cry (Neul even calls her film “kind of a prologue to Boys Don’t Cry”) and with David Cronenberg’s M. Butterly. So while this doesn’t exactly tread new ground, what Neul delivers here is still different enough to work on its own merits, and executed well enough to warrant a watch.

Stylistically, the film puts its foot right in some places and awry in others. The opening credit sequence, for example, is quite aesthetically pleasing, as names sit neatly among moving scenery and flit away artistically, as though someone has scribbled them out. Later on, however, whenever anything resembling a stunt scene arises, we’re short changed – there is one point where a character is run over by a car in which we’re shown no car in motion and instead only a couple of cheap looking reaction shots. Similarly, later on a character is hit by a hurled rock, yet no actual motion is shown, just the smear of blood on their hand. These are perhaps deliberate stylistic choices by Neul, and they are indeed only minor faults, but unfortunately they simply fail to work and only serve to disrupt the flow of the narrative. Visually, the film also looks a little too dull and dreary at times, but this may simply be due to budget restraints.

It is Mel’s meeting of a man from Faro (Portugal) at work called Nuno (Cortez) that puts events into motion and which gives her the grounding for the lie that she later perpetrates (hence the basis for the film’s title). Nuno is drawn into the narrative again several times later on, for example when Mel pays him to pretend to be her boyfriend in the presence of her family, once her lies start blossoming too rapidly. As the film progresses Mel finds herself switching back and forth frequently between posing as a boy and being a girl (this often involves a quick change of clothes), until an expected final confrontation occurs between Mel and Jenny where the truth is revealed and emotions run high.

Solid performances in the film all round are one of its greatest strengths. Cortez is among the best of these (his character being very colourful and confident), but the two central actresses are also profoundly believable in their roles; Strechel is suitably ambiguous in her looks and has an acting style that commands sympathy for the character throughout, and particular credit should be given to Hollmann, who was only 13 years old when she shot this and who shared her first ever kiss with Strechel on set for the scene. Panzner (who plays Mel’s brother) and Isolda Dychauk (who plays Jenny’s friend Bianca) also both provide excellent supporting performances.

When it comes to exploring this piece’s central theme – does love transcend gender bias, and observing society’s views on this – the topic is trodden well, even right down to exploring potential lesbian or bisexual tendencies in and between 14 year old Jenny and her friend Bianca; Jenny asks Bianca once if she is a lesbian and Bianca touchingly has no answer, and the two nuzzle each other all too intimately frequently in bed – this is completely separate and external to the Mel issue, and thus implies that all young girls naturally flirt with this idea/conflict. Neul reinforces her belief in this by stating that she was trying to show how a normal young girl experiences something “very special” and how she tries to deal with this experience. Jenny’s naivety on all of these conflicts is evident by such scenes as her asking, after finding out the truth about Mel: “Am I a lesbian now?”


ԡ ŧҹʴͧͧ

Anjorka Strechel 


Kray (2010)() 
Directer:Aleksei Uchitel Ҿ¹ʹ(Best Film)ҧŵ꡵ҷͧͧ» 2011ش ж١ʹͪҪԧ١šͧҢ ˹ѧҵҧȴ˹ѧ᷹ҡ觪ԧʡ ˹ѧ֧ͧ¤Ѻ



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