- 1 hr 49 min
Wetlands is a 2013 German coming-of-age drama directed by David Wnendt, based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Charlotte Roche. The film tells the story of 18-year-old Helen Memel (Carla Juri), a young woman who is rebelling against societal norms and conventions, particularly hygiene, in the wake of her parentsâ divorce. The film starts off with a prologue that establishes Helenâs unique, free-spirited personality from a young age. She finds joy and euphoria in exploring the workings of the human body, particularly her own, which often involves experimentations with sex and masturbation. She finds pleasure in the disgusting and the taboo, which she believes makes her feel alive. Helenâs life takes a turn when she accidentally cuts herself while shaving and develops an anal fissure, leading to her hospitalization. It is in the hospital that she begins her journey of self-discovery and rebellion, rejecting societal norms of cleanliness and hygiene. Throughout the film, we see Helen navigate various relationships with her friends, including her best friend Corinna (Marlen Kruse) and the handsome nurse Robin (Christoph Letkowski). She also grapples with the estranged relationship she has with her parents, particularly her mother, who is emotionally distant and critical of her lifestyle. The film is a raw and unapologetic exploration of female sexuality, desire, and identity. It offers a refreshing perspective on femininity that is often ignored in mainstream cinema. It depicts women as complex, multifaceted individuals who are not ashamed of their bodies and desires. At its core, Wetlands is a story of coming-of-age and self-acceptance. Helenâs journey towards self-discovery is messy, uncomfortable, and painful, much like the physical manifestation of her rebellion against societal norms. The filmâs unflinching portrayal of female sexuality and desire is refreshing and authentic, devoid of the male gaze that often dominates narratives around femininity in cinema. Carla Juriâs portrayal of Helen is nothing short of mesmerizing. Her raw, charismatic performance brings Helen to life in a way that is both endearing and repulsive. Her portrayal is unapologetic and authentic, capturing the essence of Rocheâs novel with eloquence. The direction of Wetlands is also noteworthy. Wnendt handles the subject matter with sensitivity and grace, never once indulging in voyeurism or sensationalism. He captures the essence of Rocheâs novel with raw intensity and emotional complexity, making it a film that is both challenging and moving. While Wetlands is not for everyone, it is a film that deserves to be seen. It offers a refreshing perspective on femininity and sexuality that is often ignored in mainstream cinema, and its unflinching portrayal of taboo subjects is both engaging and thought-provoking. With a powerhouse lead performance from Carla Juri and an outstanding direction from David Wnendt, Wetlands is a must-see film for fans of coming-of-age dramas that challenge societal norms.