Stars: Lena Urzendowsky, Jella Haase, Lena Klenke, Elina Vildanova
Set over a hot Berlin summer writer-director Krippendorff’s second feature is an appealing and astute coming of age/coming out story.
Nora (the excellent Urzendowsky) is a shy awkward fourteen-year-old who, in want of her own friends, tags along with her cooler, slightly older sister Jule (Klenke) and her best friend Aylin (Vildanova), even if she struggles to share their enthusiasm for boys, fashion and Instagram selfies. She is fond of keeping caterpillars though, an activity she used to share with her mother, an alcoholic who is barely present in their lives.
When Nora gets her first period in front of the class, charismatic older student Romy (Haase) comes to her aid, A friendship blossoms which develops into something more.
Capturing her young characters’ interactions in an intimate naturalistic style, Krippendorf’s depiction of the travails of teenage life, feels painfully, recognizably authentic, and redolent of such perceptive teen modern classics as Lukas Moodysson’s ‘Show Me Love/Fucking Åmål’ and Céline Sciamma’s ‘Girlhood’. Martin Neumeyer’s golden-hued photography adds an appropriately dreamlike and intense feel.
While the butterfly from cocoon motif feels a little on the nose, Urzendowsky’s Nora is a gawky relatable heroine to root for, and her transformation from misfit loner to confident young woman is genuinely rousing.
Cocoon is released in selected cinemas and available to stream online from 11th December.
Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm