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Wetlands ("Feuchtgebiete")

Quebec Premiere
  • Germany
  • 2013
  • 109 mins
  • DCP
  • German
  • English (subtitles)
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Official Selection, Locarno Film Festival 2013
Official Selection, Sundance 2014
Official Selection, Göteborg International Film Festival 2014

“Sweet, raunchy, disgusting, hilarious, f*cked up, unpredictable and emotionally engaging” – Eric Vespe, AIN’T IT COOL

“Refreshing… An extravaganza of delightful perversity” – Nicholas Bell, IONCINEMA

“As long as I can remember, I’ve had hemorrhoids.” And with this line, opens WETLANDS, as we meet teenaged Helen, finger jammed up her rectum, skateboarding down the streets of Berlin. Before long, we learn that Helen rejects the standards of conventional hygiene in a number of significant ways, told through a string of playfully gross-out setpieces that manage to be at once raunchy and hilariously endearing. Helen is a stark individualist and super fetishist who lives very much by her own rules. She gleefully goes out her way to shock people in every kind of social situation, can dominate almost any conquest, masturbates around the clock and is obsessed with bodily fluids, malformations and orifices. An unfortunate shaving accident lands her in a hospital bed, opening up a wealth of opportunities. For exploration, friendship, and so much more.

Bursting with kinetic energy, its candy-coulored pallete and propulsive mise-en-scene exploding an uncommonly intimate tale into something larger-than-larger-than-life, WETLANDS has become a festival underdog across the world. At its centre is the absolutely wonderful Carla Juri, who brings such spunky charm to her role that you will be smitten by her in even the most sticky of situations, be it her swapping used tampons with her best friend or grinding her genitals against a filthy toilet seat as “a living pussy hygiene experiment”. She anchors the film’s confrontational sense of humour so brilliantly, and with such glowing sexual confidence, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else daring an attempt to best her (so Anglo remake poachers back off now). Adapted from Charlotte Roche’s 2008 bestselling novel, the film pushes all kinds of screen boundaries with playful yet assertive gusto, fueled with a very real affection that makes it come across like a feminist Irvine Welsh work by way of John Waters — and John Hughes. It’s a bold, great time, an in-your-face eccentric romp that smartly challenges social taboos with punk rock zeal and a whole lot of heart. It’s also a coming-of-age story most unconventional, filled with poppy surrealistic imagery and outrageous situations of the sort you’ve never seen before on a screen. Inventively directed by David Wnendt (COMBAT GIRLS), WETLANDS secretes a special kind of sweetness, one that tastes, smells and stains better than anything you may be expecting.

— Mitch Davis