Oct. 29, 2013
The Mermaids is a German short film about a young woman named Nikki
who loves mathematics, and discovers something else about herself when she
joins an all-girls football team.
Nikki Schubert (Ania
Niedick) introduces herself at the start of the film: ďIím new in town. I study mathematics. I love numbers and systems.Ē
She is cute, blond, and wears large glasses. She looks directly at us, but
interestingly her introduction is done as voice over rather than having her
address us directly. She identifies herself as a nerd and weirdo, saying her
parents would rather have had an athletic girl for their daughter. She tells us
she became invisibleÖ ďUntil today.Ē
We are treated to a
series of funny images of Nikki out and about. I particularly love the shot of
her getting on the subway. She is framed in such a way that a manís arm is
across her neck, blocking her, suffocating her as she stares forward,
unnoticed. She puts her hands on the glass just before the subway leaves the
station, almost as if to make contact with us. Itís funny and endearing, and it
makes us feel for her right away.
She is in therapy, and puts
her goals into mathematical terms. The therapist recommends she involve herself
in sports. And so Nikki joins an all-girls football team. The first football
scene is done mostly in montage, and that doesnít quite work. We havenít yet
seen enough of this character to warrant a montage. The montage actually
creates a bit of a distance between us and Nikki, rather than drawing us closer
After practice, Nikki
sees two of the women kissing. Itís a nice moment, but I wish it werenít set to
a song. The song somehow keeps it from being too personal. However, when she
talks to her therapist, she puts homosexuality into mathematical terms, which
is great. She tells her therapist, ďI
canít thank you enough for encouraging me to play footballĒ Ė a sweet and
(To read the complete review, please click on "RAWR.")
And because Nikki sees
everything in mathematical terms, she begins creating special plays for the
football team, much to the chagrin of the coach.
The Mermaids is a sweet and quirky lesbian film, but it relies a
bit too much on music and montage. Itís like it doesnít trust its own
strengths, such as the fact that it has a totally likeable, adorable lead.
This DVD actually
contains a second short film from the same filmmaker, Petra Clever. For me, Lady Pochoir is the better of the two
films. It tells the tale of Yv, a bicycle courier by day and graffiti artist by
night (her graffiti name is Lady Pochoir).
Yv (Nadine Rennack) is
shown creating some of her graffiti, then rushing to her friend Stanís place,
paranoid that someone is following her. He suggests she try a different art
form. Soon they are visited by Stanís friend Sascha, whose police uniform of
course only helps to increase Yvís paranoia. But the scene where they meet is
well done, not played for awkward laughs, but instead is honest, even kind of
sweet, while still voicing both sides of the graffiti argument eloquently.
The other woman to
suddenly enter Yvís life is Lexy (as the end credits spell her name, or Lexi,
as the subtitles spell her name), a writer who is putting together a book on
street art. She accompanies Yv on a night of spraying, which then leads them to
a lesbian bar. At the bar, they run into Sascha, and she and Lexy immediately
display jealousy over Yv. Each of these two women seems to be keeping something
This film is best in its
quieter moments. This film is also really well shot, with lots of beautifully
framed shots of the city.
The DVD also contains
trailers for both The Mermaids and Lady Pochoir.
The Mermaids was released on October 8, 2013 through TLA Releasing.