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Directed by Laura Lehmus
USA | 90 min | 2021
SWEET DISASTER tells the story of FRIDA. German-Finnish, painting therapist and 40-y.o. Two events change the usual course of her life. She gets unexpectedly pregnant and FELIX, the father of her child breaks up with her to re-unite with his ex who is suddenly back. FELIX admits that it is not the best timing, however it does not prevent him from leaving. FRIDA cannot accept FELIX’ decision. Although some serious health problems caused by the late pregnancy force her to rest, she tries to get FELIX back with the help of absurd, exaggerated and sometimes absolutely comic actions.
News & Reviews
“Not since Toni Erdmann have cliches around German humour been so artfully disproven.”
(Pauline Rieux, Raindance Film Festival)
“…but it’s written and directed in such a way that makes this tragedy into more of an amusingly wistful melancholy, effectively blending genres and making something totally unique. …As far as romantic comedies go, Sweet Disaster is one of the most original and imaginative ones in recent memory.”
(Jack Walter, Loud and Clear Reviews)
“Frida is a really crazy fun character. Outstanding performance by Friederike Kempter. …See for yourself!”
(Sabine Willkop, SWR Fernsehen)
“Light-footed Drama narrates our imperfect life. The conflicts in generation gap, relationships and parenting are transcended to precise scenes full of empathy for the characters.”
(Heiner Dahl, ARD)
“It’s truly heart-warming and funny!”
(Julia Lehmann, SR1)
“…one of the best films of the year… Sweet Disaster by Laura Lehmus stars the quirky, funny, and loveable Friederike Kempter who leads a formidable cast in this hilarious, poetic and heartfelt comedy.”
(Pendance Film Festival)
“Sweet Disaster is as cute and funny as it is dramatic and heartbreaking. Directed by the gifted Laura Lehmus.”
(Adam Mast, The Independent)
“For a long time no one has told a story as quirly and peppy about unfaithful men and abandoned pregnant women. Laura Lehmus hits in her debut feature film an blithe keynote, overplaying elegantly the hidden minorkey. She charms the audience with animations and surreal inspiration without slipping in to artificial gimmic. The real-life position of single moms remains constanty precent.”
(Peter Gutting, programmkino.de)
I’ve always been skeptical of the phrase “dysfunctional family” since all families would seem dysfunctional if one were able to observe them closely enough. In creating RELATIVE, my goal was to contrive a scenario that would allow me to lift the veil on the complex bonds that exist between members of a modern American family — showing the deep love and affection between them on the one hand and the resentments and jealousies roiling just under the surface on the other. I also wanted to capture the inherent sadness of how families evolve and ultimately “disintegrate” (to quote Fran Guinan’s character) over time.
RELATIVE asks what it means to be a parent, a child, a brother, a sister. While my previous three films deal with romantic relationships between characters in their 20s and 30s, RELATIVE primarily examines parent-child relationships and sibling bonds across three generations of the same family. I strove to stretch myself as a writer/director by creating characters of diverse ages and tried to mine each of their lives for emotional and psychological truth. Thanks to the best ensemble cast with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working, I believe the end result shows, in a manner that I hope is universal and timeless, both the difficulties and the rewards that come with being a relative.
Laura Lehmus was born in 1972 in Finland. She studied fine arts at F+F School in Zurich & audiovisual media at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne.
After a long stopover in Berlin and Helsinki, in 2019 Laura finally settled in Düsseldorf from where she works as director, on-air producer and art director for film and TV, among others for ARTE, Nickelodeon, YLE, Solarfilm Helsinki.
Her short film ALIENATION has won several awards such as the German Short Film Award (2015) – Lola Award in Gold in the category Animated Film. It became one of the three most successful German short films in 2016 (FFA Filmförderungsanstalt). SWEET DISASTER is Laura’s feature film debut, scheduled for festival release in late 2021 and German theatrical release in autumn 2022.