What a beautiful documentary director Janna Ji Wonders made. I’ve just seen it in the online version of Frankfurt based LICHTER film festival. What is it about?
Janna Ji Wonders tells the somehow everday story of the women in her family over four generations. But it’s not only an everyday story. It tells much about so intersting and difficult lives of women in 20th century. The film’s unifying element and somehow a hidden protagonist is the beautiful Lake Walchensee in Bavaria, where the family opened a café in 1920 which still exists today. The family matriarch and café founder Apa, passed the business to her first-born daughter Norma who continues to run it until the age of ninety. Norma’s daughters Anna and Frauke leave this life to liberate themselves and travel the world as musicians to Mexico and many more places – and then returned to live in a commune in Munich. Frauke pines for the love of her life, dies mysteriously and becomes a shadowy figure for those left behind. Anna then moves to the USA, where she gives birth to a girl. Summoned by the shadows of her past, she returns with her daughter Janna to Walchensee where Grandma Norma becomes an important figure for her granddaughter. Filmmaker Janna is searching for answers to her own questions: What is the meaning of home? To what extent am I defined by all those women? What really counts in the end? She finds the clues in the bond between these four generations of women and their very different approaches to life.
Farbfilm Verleih will hopefully be able to bring this wonderful beauty of a documentary to cinemas as soon as possible. Janna Ji Wonders creates such a personal, touching work, you don’t want to stop to learn more about this women. And there’s a moment when you realize, that you maybe somehow missed yourself that moment, to learn more about all those stories of your family, your ancestors. All those stories, that will be lost, forgotten, disappeared one day. Janna Ji Wonders did the best, to archive those wonderful, funny, sad, melancholic, depressing and whatever stories of her family.
FILMOGRAPHY JANNA JI WONDERS
2020 WALCHENSEE FOREVER, doc, 110’
2015 I REMEMBER, short, 30’
2008 HOLY HOME, short, 10’
2006 LOVING YOU, short, 2’
2005 STREET PUNK MOSCOW, short doc, 35’
2003 WAITING FOR SUMMER, short, 10’
2002 BLING BLING, doc, 60’