Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Restrained performances from both leads contribute to the sense that something extraordinary is happening here undercover of the mundane." | Photo: Johannes Höß

The sun slants through the damp air onto pale grey tarmac that sprawls across seemingly illimitable distances. The gentle sound of traffic is omnipresent, ebbing and flowing like the tide. This is a liminal world, a place of coming and going, never quite anywhere in itself. It's a place of complete freedom and emptiness, outside nature, almost outside reality.

Through this world drifts Sofia (Lia Wilfing), a slight, pale girl who is full of purpose yet doesn't really know where she's going. She's looking for a ride. She can smile, she says, or talk, or be silent - whatever the driver wants. Michael (Christian Dolezal) isn't looking for any of those things. He's a man who likes being on his own. Why does he give in? Perhaps it's her pushiness, her obnoxiousness that does it. When she drops the cheery façade he sees something that he relates to. Their journey together, over the course of a single day, changes them both.

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Screening at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Favourites is a story about the power of human contact in a world that makes it easy to be isolated, wilfully or not. As the story progresses, we learn more about our two protagonists - Sofia easily prompted to rant about the unfairness of life, Michael revealing more through what he doesn't say. There are no grand revelations, no terrible secrets, but the cumulative weight of small things is given due respect. Michael finds himself unexpectedly sympathetic towards this resentful teenager at a critical moment in her life.

With restrained performances from both leads contributing to the sense that something extraordinary is happening here undercover of the mundane, Favourites is a potent little film that perfectly captures that landscape of uncertainty, that inbetweenness. It takes us to a place where journeys intersect and the future can be born.

Reviewed on: 25 May 2019
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Favourites packshot
A teenage hitchhiker forms an unexpected bond with a stranger.

Director: Martin Monk

Writer: Martin Monk

Starring: Lia Wilfing, Christian Dolezal

Year: 2019

Runtime: 18 minutes

Country: Austria, Germany


Cannes 2019

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