DIRECTOR: CARMEN JAQUIER STARRING: LILITH GRASMUG, MERMOZ MELCHIOR, BENJAMIN PYTHON, NOAH WATZLAWICK RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 32 MINUTES
In a Swiss village, Elisabeth, who's 17, returns home from the convent after learning of her sister's mysterious death. Reunited with her three childhood friends, she discovers that faith and desire can sometimes be intertwined.
Thunder is the International Feature submission for Switzerland. Written and directed by Carmen Jaquier, the film is set in the summer of the 1900s in a small Swiss town in southern Switzerland. Elisabeth, who’s now 17, has been living in a convent for the past five years. Upon learning about the sudden death of her older sister, Innocente, she returns back to her family farm to help with the household chores and to find out what happened with her sister’s disappearance.
As Elisabeth slowly begins to discover more about Innocente and her life and death, she reunites with boys from her childhood which will awaken new desires within her, and as a result put her at odds with her devout faith and strict upbringings.
Thunder is a gorgeous film which explores heavy themes of sexual repression, religious trauma, and the clash of faith and desire. The film is extremely claustrophobic and intimate. It’s both radiant and catastrophic. It’s both pleasure and pain. It’s a highly uncomfortable, yet remarkable story, of a teenage girl’s exploration of herself despite society forcing her to conform.
Like thunder, Elisabeth rumbles into her tiny village like a quiet storm, zeroing in on her spiritual re-birth as she pushes against the limited freedom women were allowed to occupy in the early 1900s. When faith and religion were of the upmost importance, and just as Elisabeth finds God, she’s immediately branded as the devil, just as fast as a lightning bolt.
The film is courageous, bold, thought-provoking, exquisitely beautiful, and a fantastic directorial debut for Carmen Jaquier. I am as God made me.