By: Amanda Guarragi
Softness of Bodies feels like an authentic European tale, with a self centred, narcissistic, American poet as the protagonist. It takes place in Berlin, where Charlotte (Dasha Nekrasova) an aspiring poet, hopes to win a prestigious grant, all while dealing with her past relationships. The film unfolds quite naturally, as a string of events cause Charlotte to think on her feet and adapt to her current situation, in order to stay on track for her grant.
Charlotte is one of the most intriguing characters I have seen in awhile. She is very aloof, blunt and passive. She has the chronic need to steal anything she desires (which includes boyfriends) and tends to get herself into some sticky situations. The pacing of this film was the one thing that worked extremely well. Everything happened for a reason and it allowed each bad event, to escalate naturally, in order to suit Charlotte’s actions.
The title of the film speaks on multiple levels but it can be interpreted as the exterior of the body, by touch, is something delicate and sensual. All that matters is the feel of the person and not what is on the inside. The exterior is something people crave, people objectively analyze others every single day, without realizing they do. Their bodies are the first thing that anyone notices before they cast judgement on who they are. Their personality, flaws, or history do not matter.
Once we get to know people, that is when that soft exterior fades away and we are met with the reality of the person. In Charlotte’s case, she was a very tough person to get along with because of the way she was. She was into herself and those around her, were either there to tear her down, or to watch her crumble. She had to deal with her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her, while she was sleeping with another man, who was in a relationship. The film was filled with lying, cheating and deceit. When reflecting on the film, it does seem like Charlotte got away with the ultimate robbery.
The camerawork was interesting, the tracking shots that were used for Charlotte, were great. She was always on the run, or riding her bicycle and the editing during those chase scenes were strong. The colour grading and textures, were subtle throughout but were punched up a bit, during house party scenes. There were yellowish tones and pastels that were used and the smoke that filled the apartments gave it a relaxed, hazy feel.
Softness of Bodies, at first, is a character study and then, one event, kickstarts a downward spiral for Charlotte. She is a master manipulator and con artist. It does get darker, as the film goes on and I think that is why it’s so intriguing to watch. Majority of the time, you question if it can get worse and it definitely does. Charlotte walks through life, unfazed by any minor inconvenience, as if it never even happened. She takes control of her own hardships and finds a way to make it out on the other side.