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The Chairs Game

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Alice has been unemployed for a long time. The clerk in charge of her case is already impatient and recommends her to think about changing jobs and in the meantime she signs her up for job application training. Alice, who generally acts in a controlled way when faced with the impositions of being managed as well as the rejections and the waiting lines, dares to protest and say “I don‘t need any training, I need a job interview!“ That seals the deal. In the next scene the jovial Berlin trainer “what goes in an application?“ begins with suggesting a font. Alice worked as a copywriter. You don‘t even have to look at her to feel her sink in her chair.

THE CHAIRS GAME is very precise about the humiliations and unreasonableness of unemployment and having no money. Counting change in the supermarket, horror mail in the mailbox, going out with friends who aren‘t supposed to know how tight money is. The difference between using a blow dryer at a cheap hairdresser‘s because you like it or because you have to. Nothing can break or go wrong and it, of course, does. Lucia Ciarla‘s film is very skillful at riding the border of satire and is reminiscent of Mike Leigh‘s early work that way. It‘s all so terrible that it‘s grotesque. And it gets worse when Alice breaks off the job application training and her income is cut. It also has to be mentioned how fantastic Eva Löbau is in the role of Alice: every nuance of daily woe, frustration, protest, annoyance, and hope is just right.

Toni Ohms (INDIEKINO BERLIN)

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Original title: Reise nach Jerusalem
D 2018, 119 min
Language: German
Genre: Drama
Director: Lucia Chiarla
Author: Lucia Chiarla
Distributor: FILMPERLEN
Cast: Eva Löbau, Beniamino Brogi, Veronika Nowag-Jones
FSK: 6
Release: 15.11.2018

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