All Good (Alles ist gut)
Stoicism leads into repression, repression into guilt and guilt into despair. This basic thesis is pursued in Eva Trobisch’s All Good, a relentlessly focused work that presents a single trauma, one that is squashed down, far down, into the protagonist’s psyche. We know this latent grief isn’t sustainable – so what will the eruption look like?
Janne (Aenne Schwarz) is raped after a school reunion. Her assailant Martin (Hans Löw) is a lanky, bespectacled middle-management type. That they spent the night drinking together gives him apparently enough encouragement. She resists, then acquiesces. The event is unadorned, daring to seem innocuous. The main character’s internalisation has begun already. The emotional panopticon is instated, the prison perimeter guarded.
Every aggression is clinically coordinated. Awful coincidences multiply. Serendipity is inverted. Janne’s boyfriend Piet (Andreas Döhler) is hot-headed and self-absorbed, offering little solace. The protagonist’s new editor boss (Tilo Nest) is generally sympathetic but has his own problems. Janne offers clear, actionable advice for their respective woes, understandably projecting a desire for help. She tells no one about the assault; this dissonance is not a perversion but an act of resignation.
Trobisch aims for a psychological study on silent agony, not achingly realistic drama. That pernicious refrain, “all good”, echoes and re-echoes throughout. The cruel neatness of accumulated horrors brings into relief male ignorance and uselessness: pleas to talk go unheard; responses fall below inadequacy. The camera fixes on Janne’s growing exasperation, her quivering decency, her bargaining with neglect.
Where is the breaking point? Often in transit, often under obligations, often dictated by amoral fate. A prosaic worry will tip the scales, yanking off parts of you, revealing the unforgivable crime underneath. Of course, your minor misdemeanour is barked aloud, your petty castigation made public. Bite your lip, speak clearly and refuse to get off.
All Good (Alles ist gut) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Locarno Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Locarno Film Festival website here.