A woman in the clutches of the USA job market – director and screenwriter Lucia Chiarla needs for her drama TRIP TO JERUSALEM not a remote scenario to present its audience with a world that is more oppressive than some horror films. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
Alice (Eva Löbau) has actually always been successful in her job as a copywriter. But as a freelancer you are not immune from falling on your face from time to time. Her number of clients has been decreasing for months, but she is now a permanent guest on the job market. Here Alice does everything she can to find work again as quickly as possible. But neither the officials nor her parents are of any help to her. So the 38-year-old drags herself from measure to measure, writes applications, earns extra money through product testing and yet can’t prevent her salary from being cut. All of this wouldn’t be half as bad if Alice didn’t have to try to keep up the appearance of being independent. But in her circle of friends everyone seems to be far too busy with themselves for anyone to be interested in their problems…
Movie explanation of the ending
No over-stylized problems, no big drama, no constructed conflict – no, “Journey to Jerusalem” simply retells the everyday lives of many people. People who have lost their jobs due to adverse circumstances. Like Alice. “Loneliness and Sex and Pity” star Eva Löbau takes on the role of a woman with whom many people can identify. She is the victim of circumstances, a confusing job market, decisions that are difficult to understand and her attempt to build her own existence as a self-employed person. Something that the author of these lines can sing a song about herself. When that fails, Alice collapses internally, but for the sake of herself and her ego she has to pretend that it hadn’t happened at all, or that it was only half as bad. Seen in this way, the really big drama does exist – only the Italian director and screenwriter Lucia Chiarla (“Bye Bye Belusconi!”) allows this to take place exclusively inside her protagonist. A protagonist who goes through an almost two-hour tour de force on the screen, whose horror is revealed by the little things.
Alice (Eva Löbau) finds a listener in her neighbor.
If the head of the measure organized by the employment agency doesn’t like Alice’s nose, she has to allow herself to be bullied in front of the entire team – if she complains, her salary will be reduced. Her parents, who are no less desperate, advise her to go into an industry that Alice has absolutely no use for (educator – after all, there are always vacancies there); knowing full well that her daughter won’t be happy with it, but at least it would at least give her a job again and, with it, money. And when Alice literally scrapes together every cent in the supermarket because her account is deep in the red and she really wants to treat herself to that one pack of cookies, then the looks of those around her not only bore deep into Alice’s soul, but we also know at this moment exactly how unpleasant this all must feel for Alice. Ralf Noack’s smart, well-thought-out camera work contributes a lot to this feeling (“Disaster”)who persists until it becomes uncomfortable, always stays very close to his protagonist and yet constantly places her in the environment like an out-of-place puzzle piece – this woman seems to have long since lost her place in society.
The fact that the script, for which the director herself was responsible, still confronts Alice with two or three problems in the second half, which seem almost constructed in contrast to the previous 60 minutes (keyword: stripper), takes away from “Journey to Jerusalem “a little bit of its pleasant generality, which means that every viewer who has already been in this or a similar situation can empathize with the protagonist. The identification figure becomes a film character after all – this doesn’t make “Journey to Jerusalem” shine in a more negative light, but it does allow the viewer a distance from the events, which could be a relief for some, while others see the lack of it Consequence can rightly be criticized. Either way, “Journey to Jerusalem” is a gentle drama and offers an insight into a hell that every person can be glad if they don’t have to go through at least once in their life. And it is precisely this awareness of the messy situation that makes the film such an emotional and cinematic violence.
Alice despairs at the ATM…
Eva Löbau has already demonstrated her fearless courage in the remarkably open episodic tragicomedy “Loneliness and Sex and Compassion”. Her Alice here doesn’t go in quite as radical a direction as the role in Lars Montag’s work. At the same time, Löbau has no fear of nudity and naturalness. When things get physical, Eva Löbau is there with her skin and hair – in the truest sense of the word. Even in moments of most intimate concern, the actress always finds a way to make her character’s inner life tangible for the audience. The rest of the ensemble also puts their full effort into the service of the film; Lucia Chiarla benefits from the fact that she is only dealing with actors who have not already attracted attention with well-known roles. In combination with the documentary color design, all of this creates the impression of absolute authenticity. The nice gimmick of only playing on-hold melodies as background music gives “Journey to Jerusalem” additional charm and also underlines the dimensions to which unemployment leads for Alice: Even though “only” her working life is idle, this has the same effect everything else out. And it is precisely this feeling of the noose gradually tightening around the main character’s neck that makes this film so unbearable at times – in the best sense of the word, of course.
Conclusion: “Journey to Jerusalem” is a painful look at the hell of unemployment. Eva Löbau credibly and fearlessly embodies a failed woman in her mid-thirties who does everything she can to regain her footing – and fails. Not so the film. The theme couldn’t have been captured more authentically, even if the script towards the end feels a little more constructed than it needs to be.
“Journey to Jerusalem” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from November 15th.