Franky Five Star — German Film Festival 2023

Review by John P. Harvey.

Franky (Lena Urzendowsky) has an internal life that’s rich: in fact, too rich.  Sharing the hotel that exists inside her head are four other cohabitants: Mrs Franke (Gerti Drassl), Frank (Sven Hönig), Ella (Sophie Killer), and Lenny (Cecilio Andresen), and most of them like taking a turn in the sun as Franky’s outward personality, which they do by summoning the hotel lift and stepping into it.

In her outer life, Franky shares a flat with a devoted friend, Katja (Meryem Öz), upon whom she relies greatly for help in dealing with the world.  Franky’s behaviour even with Katja and Katja’s boyfriend, Hasi (Cino Djavid), is unpredictable, and she has a volatile relationship with her mother, which is not entirely due to Franky.  But nobody whom Franky hasn’t told of her multiple personalities can completely understand that she does things that she really doesn’t want to do; that her secret personalities take over at the most inopportune moments.

Urzendowsky’s mannerisms echo marvellously those of the personalities who lobby to the forefront of Franky’s face on the world, and both Djavid, as Hasi, and Paul Pötsch as her neighbour Roman, ground the film convincingly in their roles as down-to-earth men whose surprising degree of tolerance eventually reaches its limit.

Franky Five Star offers a slightly surreal, sometimes amusing, often entertaining, always sympathetic look at a mode of existence that is probably accurately classed as a disorder, portraying Franky’s adventures with her various selves and others.  Through a very interesting, if sometimes slow, allegory, it offers a unique perspective on the way both its subject and its subject’s friends and family experience a state in which Franky finds herself constantly in tension with those others sharing her powers of perception, feeling, and will.

Screening at Palace cinemas.

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