This documentary from Swiss director, Jan Gassman, offers a startlingly intimate look at the daily struggles of a collection of twentysomething couples during a seemingly pivotal moment in Europe’s history.
Each of the film’s candidly depicted couples are at varied stages of their respective relationships. In Seville, Juan is desperate for a job while Caro is trying, and failing, to further her education; in Dublin, Siobhan and Terry fell in love with each other and with heroin, and, now sober, their relationship has hit a bizarre crossroads; Veronica and Harri are raising a blended family in Tallinn, and Veronica yearns for Harri to love the son she has from a previous relationship as much as the baby they have just had together; and finally in Thessaloniki, Penny and Niko are handling the breakdown of their long-term relationship, and Penny’s imminent move to Italy, with differing techniques to say the least.
The subjects’ ability to almost completely ignore the camera and live out their most vulnerable moments on screen is admirable. The backdrop to all this is Europe itself, and it’s obvious that Gassman’s intention was to make Europe, a continent in the midst of economic and social transformation, as prominent a character as the four young couples. But despite the use of archival footage and voice-over intended to provide context to the time in which these people are living in, it is the human struggles that are inherently more fascinating – in this film at least – than the cities in which they are occurring.
Europe, She Loves will screen at The Sydney Film Festival, which runs from June 8-19. For ticketing, venue, and session info, head to The Sydney Film Festival.