Home Year 2011 White Turnips Make It Hard To Sleep (2011) movie review

White Turnips Make It Hard To Sleep (2011) movie review


Rachel Lang continues exploring the life of Ana Osch in this second part of a film trilogy focusing on the character. This is another short, running slightly longer than For You I Will Fight at just shy of 30 minutes. The final part, Baden Baden, is a full feature length story which I’ve no doubt I’ll be reviewing in due course.

Some time has passed since Ana was involved in army training. She is a little older, a little wiser, to borrow a quote from Wayne’s World 2. In fact she’s ideally placed to knock a few military youths down a couple of pegs after they hassle her and another girl on a train journey via Brussels.

This time Ana is not concerned about STD’s, rather faulty pregnancy tests. She’s also developed a hobby and interest in clay sculpting. In terms of metaphor, this nicely places her life in a state of flux, but one that can be controlled and molded to suit her needs. I do appreciate a good metaphor.

The most concerning part of the film is the male friend/boyfriend of one of Ana’s friends. Not only does he have a weird hair style – bald eagle meets sideburns – but asks for fizzy water. FIZZY WATER. Unbelievable. Nobody in their right mind asks for fizzy water. Ever. Clearly he is some form of European dandy. His hairstyle and interest in fizzy water seals it.

There’s more room to breathe in this story when compared to For You I Will Fight. That’s partly to do with the slightly increased running time, but also because the story has more scope to it than that very self-contained world. There is opportunity to explore life’s little moments, those periods that we tend to forget over time but all add up to our combined life experience. These are interspersed with examples of wider standout moments that tend to live on in the memory – house parties and the like.

Ana’s life has moved on to the angst she was feeling in that first film. She is in a long distance relationship with a man who has questionable taste in fashion. And it’s not as if I can blame it on them being in Belgium. Well okay, maybe a little. That relationship is fading and the film explores, in general terms, her acceptance of the fact that it will likely have to end.

There are stranger moments where she disappears into a crowded dance floor with no top on, then proceeds to journey throughout the party in an equal state of undress. To be honest I’m not sure what this is symbolising beyond a statement of “I am woman?” and to reflect that underneath the layers of clothes she is just a person.

And what about those white turnips in the title? They make an appearance early on, with Ana claiming that they contain too much Vitamin C and therefore she can’t sleep. She’s advised moderation is healthy – another potent metaphor for life in general.

What’s interesting is the opportunity Lang gives us to explore Ana’s development over time. She’s a stronger person than she was at 19, more sure in the ways of the world and how to push herself forward. She is the one to choose whether her relationship with the tortured artist continues, she has the power and the control over her own life. This is where the film’s true power lies, and

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