Berlin film looks at mentally impaired woman awakening to sex

Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:15am EST
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By Michael Roddy

BERLIN (Reuters) - A couple out for a drive in his luxury convertible, with the young woman stretching to feel the wind in her hair, is a scene from a romcom, but what if the woman has the mind of a child and their relationship started with a rape?

This is the situation posited in the Swiss film "Dora or the Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents" shown on Thursday at the Berlin International Film Festival.

It focuses on the consequences of the protective parents of a mentally disabled, 18-year-old only child, Dora, as they take her off medications so she can learn to deal with life, including her own budding sexuality.

"Almost all the taboos are shown in the film but this was not the intention, this was my own discovery," director Stina Werenfels said of the movie, which was adapted from a play by Lukas Baerfuss.

A main departure from the play is the explicit sex between Dora, convincingly played by Victoria Schulz, and the unsavoury Peter, played by German actor Lars Eidinger, recently seen in "Clouds of Sils Maria".

Rushing headlong into life, Dora follows Peter into a public toilet, where he rapes her.

The parents discover what has happened and call the police, while seeking medical attention for Dora. But the police find no proof of rape, Dora is of consenting age, and when she spots Peter again, they begin to have sex regularly.

The film looks at the complications that arise from parents wanting as normal a life as possible for Dora, their only child, while suffering from their own marital strains because they are unable to have another child.   Continued...

Director Stina Werenfels attends a news conference to promote the in-panorama film "Dora or The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents" at the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 12, 2015. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos (GERMANY - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)