Three German teenagers—Ira, Malin, and Ka—have just graduated from high school. As it is a rite of passage for teenagers everywhere, the trio decides to commemorate this milestone with a road trip. Once settled in Italy, the trio embarks in search of adventure. On the road, they pick up an intriguing backpacker, Zoe, who tags along on their journey. But when they stumble across an abandoned village, the quartet starts to experiment with the limits of their newly found freedom, away from the expectations of their parents and teachers.
German filmmaker Anna Roller’s feature directorial debut is a beautifully shot yet intimately scaled film. Sharply realized characters populate the story, with compelling performances by all four leads helping to bolster a contemplative, lived-in tone. With Dead Girls Dancing, Roller displays the subtle, steady hand of a filmmaker wise beyond her years and makes a bold statement as a director to watch.––Jason Gutierrez