Swiss film Blue My Mind is not to be missed. This debut feature from writer/director Lisa Brühlmann is a body horror/coming of age tale drenched in melancholy and violence.
Fifteen-year-old Mia (Luna Wedler) has just moved to a new school and she is immediately drawn to the group of kids who seem to do nothing but get into trouble. Despite their initial nastiness towards her, Mia does not give up and is quickly taken in by Gianna (Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen), the lead cool girl. At first, Mia seems like a good girl and it is a bit puzzling as to why she feels the need to be with the school hooligans, but as we learn more about Mia, we realize that she isn’t just battling the usual physical and emotional changes of adolescence, but she’s also grappling with some mental illness. Compounding this is parents whom she feels don’t understand her and may not even be her biological parents. It’s a perfect storm for Mia to find comfort and acceptance with Gianna: despite the fact that Gianna and her friends pressure Mia into meeting up with strangers for sex, shoplifting, doing drugs and anything else that is patently disrespectful to her body and self.
When Mia’s menstrual cycle begins, so too, does a physical transformation that she desperately tries to hide from the world. Greedily swallowing salt water and randomly devouring goldfish, Mia is just as scared of and perplexed by this change as she is of all of the other changes that one faces at this age. Brühlmann expertly crafts a dreamy, ocean blue saturated world where normal adolescent impulses are mixed with learning to harness one’s sexuality. Unfortunately, puberty is also a time where one may find themselves learning to grapple with the nature of humans to discriminate and turn their backs on anything “other”. This is where the body horror comes in and it’s incredible. The makeup and effects are gorgeous and you will wince with pain and sympathy for dear Mia.
Unafraid to show the sometimes violent and self-destructive tendencies that we all cave to, Wedler and Brühlmann present us with a female protagonist that does everything on her own terms, including when and how to embrace her bodily changes. At times heartbreaking, Blue My Mind is a careful and loving, female driven look at the myriad changes that all of us face in our teen years, but it is also a love letter to the complexities of women and female relationships, both with their bodies and with other women.
On VOD November 13
Lisa Fremont | Twitter: @lcfremont
Images: Fantasia Film Festival