Annika Pinske was Maren Arde's personal assistant in the highly internationally successful Toni Erdmann
, launched in 2016. Pinske's first short films date from the same period. In 2022, Pinske launched her first feature film, Talking About the Weather
, which had the world premiere in the Panorama section of the Berlinale
and was selected in Anonimul
feature film competition.
Clara (Anne Schäfer) teaches and is pursuing a PhD in philosophy at a prestigious university in Berlin. She lives in a rental flat together with a friend, has an affair with one of the students who attends her seminary, doesn't call often enough her teenage daughter who now lives with her father (from which Clara is now separated), and is pretty much fed up with the video calls during which her mother is constantly unhappy by the amount of time her daughter spends with her. While diligently preparing a very important paper and presentation, Clara attends the small farewell parties organized by the most prominent faculty professor, who has reached retirement age.
Her guide in the sophisticated, demanding, conservative, male-dominated
academic world is Margot (Judith Hofmann), which acts as PhD supervisor, mentor and female guide in a world of men and ultra-inflated
egos in which Clara feels awkward despite making desperate effort to get integrated. Always in a hurry, eternally insecure, easily read by her boss and often dominated by her more senior / experienced (in existing and performing as a zoon politikon in the university environment) colleagues, our heroine decides to allow herself and her daughter a mini vacation (a weekend) at her mother's flat, in the small town where she grew up and which she is supposed to know, understand, master.
The road from cosmopolitan Berlin to the former Eastern German town, which strongly resembles to any contemporary Romanian (or Bulgarian, Hungarian, etc.) town, is accompanied by a dynamic and aggressive soundtrack, listened to on the car radio. Two days later, the return journey will be accompanied by a melancholic song, broadcasted by a local Romantic FM-type
of radio station.
During the first evening and next morning spent at home / in the maternal apartment she once called home, Clara quickly takes the dominant posture that, in Berlin, she could only exercise in relation to the student-lover
with whom she is unwillingly perpetuating the flawed power relations that she rightly denounces in her feminist discourses. Even though it's her birthday, Clara's mother has to answer her daughter's questions regarding her current status, her life plans, her desires. Mundane topics of conversation, such as the weather, are reasons for irony and banter: Clara wants real communication, on relevant topics. However, when her own daughter wants to get to talk important stuff, the Berlin PhD student answers monosyllabically.
Stept by step, the reality hometown reality proves to be different from the one preserved in the heroine's memory. In a remarkable sequence (the cinematographer, Ben Bernhard, was present at the screenings in Sfântu Gheorghe and answered audience's many questions - Talking About the Weather
has a good chance of winning the Anonimul
Trophy, which is awarded based on the preferences of the spectators), Clara watches as the children and adults gathered at the outdoor party organized for the mother's birthday engage into an unpredictable dynamic, producing unpleasant little incidents, lots of laughter, politically incorrect lines, mean gossip, well-camouflaged
gestures of tenderness and many other pieces of unplanned life. The camera shows us how the philosophy teacher realizes that this is no longer her world, as she knew it, understood it, controlled it.
Late at night, the back home visit makes its predictable stop at the former (?) great love, a man with a jealous wife, who has taken over his father's business (a bar) and who regrets the mistakes of his youth. There are a lot of resembles with the Romanian film Back Home / Acasa la tata
(Andrei Cohn's feature film), as there are a lot of resembles with the journeys each of us make every now and then to the mythical space-time
of adolescence / early youth. Besides, for people in this part of the world, there are even more reasons for feeling empathetic. After all, how can you not startle when you see the boxes filled with the eggs laid by the country chickens making their way in the luggage compartment of the cars heading towards the big cities:)?
The impossible return finally plays its intended role. Clara returns to the big city, to the career she has chosen, to the lifestyle that suits her beliefs and personality. Always swinging between worlds, between eras, between loves, always not knowing, always searching.