Director: Stina Werenfels Writer: Boris Treyer| Stina Werenfels
Cast: Victoria Schulz, Jenny Schily, Lars Eidinger, Urs Jucker
90min Drama Austria/Switzerland
Stina Werenfels first came to Berlinale in 2006 with a powerful debut GOING PRIVATE. DORA marks her return with a morally challenging and visually appealing drama that probes some sensitive issues for the family of a disabled young woman in contemporary Switzerland.
In Zurich, a happily married couple in their early forties are parents to Dora (newcomer Victoria Schulz), a mentally retarded but attractive 18 year-old. Kristin (Jenny Schily) and Felix (Urs Jucker) have raised her with complete devotion but Dora is now an adult and certainly old enough to realise that she cannot interrupt her parent’s love-making by climbing into their bed. The problem is that Dora is still being treated like a child because her brain has not developed at the same time as her body and so she lacks the behavioural changes that normally follow puberty and adolescence.
The decision to stop taking her medication has had the added complication of making Dora completely sexually uninhibited. And this is both shocking and bewildering for her parents, and particularly her mother. Jenny Schily gives a convincing turn as Kristin, a loving woman who is deeply uncomfortable with her daughter’s burgeoning sexual prowess that appears not to know any shame (she comments on her father’s erect penis calling it ‘a front bum willy’ after surprising them in the throes of passion).
After an incident in a public lavatory, where Dora consents to a brutal rape by a stranger, she then embarks on a regular sex life with the man in question, much to the alarm and disappointment of her open-minded yet, understandably worried parents. All this is delicately and almost dreamily photographed by Lukas Strebel’s pleasingly soft-focused lens, a style that softens and blunts the emotionally traumatic nature of the subject matter