Aren’t You Happy? (2019)

German indie Aren’t You Happy? comes from writer-director Susanne Heinrich who puts contemporary womanhood under the microscope in a playful offbeat manner.

Marie Rathscheck navigates us through the 15 episodes with a deadpan lethargy from the opening moments when we see her clad in a faux fur coat and smoking a cigarette like a bored French femme fatale. This demeanour stays constant throughout as our melancholic heroine navigates situations of varying bawdy punk kitsch. This melancholic attitude paired with situations of growing absurdity fills Aren’t You Happy? with a cheeky irony and silliness that fights against established norms and expectations of female life.

Delivering dialogue with a lethargic energy, the melancholic girl’s various episodes see her decide to have a baby to cure her inherent narcissism, have dry spaghetti with a window cleaner, adopt a small dog, wait for the fall of capitalism, talk her psychologist out of seeing her, and engage in some sexual encounters with a carpenter and a poet. This impassive style paired with musings on feminism, motherhood, politics, consumerism, art and sex gives Aren’t You Happy? an anarchic punk feel.

Andrew McArthur, The People’s Movies

Please note: The film has a scene at around 67 minutes which might cause reactions to photosensitive people.

  • Orig. title: Das melancholische Mädchen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Distribution: Coproduction Office
  • Print source: Coproduction Office
  • Cinematography: Agnesh Pakozdi
  • Editing: Susanne Heinrich, Benjamin Mirgue
  • Music: Moritz Sembritzki, Mathias Bloech
  • Sound: Wiebke Köplin, Niklas Kammertöns, Silvio Naumann
  • Production design: Jeanne Louet, Miren Oller, Nora Willy