German Title: Augen zu – Short Film – 10 m‘
An evening in a strictly conservative German family in 1996.
7-year-old Lilith and her 10-year-old sister Medea secretly watch TV when they get caught fighting, and Medea is severely punished by their mother.
Moments later, in the bathroom, the sisters start to fight once again. Their conflict turns physical, they wrestle and struggle – until Lilith shoves her sister with such force that she is heavily injured. Lilith’s fear for Medea mingles with the fear of punishment from their mother.
Medea, torn between the desire for parental care and the responsibility to protect her younger sister from these very parents, silently makes her decision.
The short film drama, which explores themes of domestic violence, sisterhood and loyalty, was written, directed and produced by Victoria Koberstein and once again captured by Director of Photography Makito Kumazawa (HFF Munich). It was funded by Hessen Film & Media and is currently awaiting festival premiere.
„I’ve always had this vivid memory of a fight my sister and I had when I was about six years old. We were in the bathroom, brushing our teeth, and I pushed her with such force that she fell and hit her neck heavily.
I remember feeling tremendous fear for her. Simultaneously, I begged my sister not to cry out for our parents because both she and I knew that I would face severe punishment.
Our parents, who themselves came from very difficult, conservative backgrounds, raised us with excessive strictness and severity.
My sister, who was drastically injured, decided not to tell them anything about it. To this day, I believe she wanted to protect me.
With the film „Closed Eyes“, I aim to illuminate the complexity of sibling relationships and highlight the impact that the then-common parenting model of ‚carrot and stick‘ can have on children and their relationships with themselves, their siblings, and their parents. The title also alludes to the conflicts within a family that are rarely visible from the outside. Often, children who experience a difficult upbringing have to confront significant personal issues internally, particularly when they close their eyes at night and lie in silence.“