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I Was At Home, But

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Arizona

The award-winning new feature from German auteur Angela Schanelec (The Dreamed Path) hinges on the mysterious disappearance (and reappearance) of a 13-year-old boy, which sets in motion a cubist narrative that oscillates between precision and enigma, headiness and sensuality.
Its title a nod to Yasujiro Ozu’s 1932 classic I Was Born, But…, Schanelec’s film sets its puzzle-piece narrative in motion with the return of 13-year-old Phillip, whose unaccountable week-long disappearance in the wilderness has rattled his mother, Astrid. As with Schanelec’s previous films, I Was at Home, But… oscillates between precision and enigma, headiness and sensuality as it chronicles Astrid’s newly triggered anxieties through an episodic narrative that includes a school production of Hamlet (with Phillip as the lead), a moonlit visit to a graveyard set to a haunting rendition of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” and a borderline absurd subplot related to the purchase of a used bicycle. In her signature elliptical style and with a gentle sense of humor, Schanelec weaves together these narrative strands to create an indelible picture of a small community grappling with fundamental questions of existence. (Dir. by Angela Schanelec, 2019, Germany/Serbia, in German with English subtitles, 105 mins., Not Rated)

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