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“Most of my characters have a hard time,” Shortland laughs.“But I don’t want to tell stories which are just black and dark and upsetting.The Australian director Cate Shortland’s films are charged with a heady erotic heat, and ripe with sensual imagery.They also put their young women through the wringer, boldly exploring extremes of female experience.Another young actress, Saskia Rosendahl, plays the eponymous teenage anti-heroine here, leading her siblings across Germany in 1945.Too young not to be a Nazi, but sexually blooming, her first erotic encounter is with an apparent Jew.The potential physical risk that lurks every time a woman goes home with a man has leapt up and grabbed her. “What happens is a mixture of truth, and how we fantasise about sex, and how we sexualise violence. “We thought about fairy tales when we were shooting. You kind of want an intellectual, sensitive, funny big bad wolf! But Shortland lets the hazy, narcotic attraction Clare first felt for Andi stubbornly linger. So it was interesting for me to blur those lines, and to experience what it is to be attracted and repulsed by somebody at the same time.Clare’s not after this vanilla experience, when she goes home with him. And a lot of them, like , eroticise a very immobilised, trapped heroine. The erotic element continues, even though it shouldn’t.” The hurricane whirl of Clare’s psyche shows after she instigates sex with her captor.

I’m actually watching Jill Solloway’sat the moment, and it’s so great seeing that female obsession.

But I feel I’m more at peace with that now.” Elements of this difficult autobiography can be glimpsed in . One of my sisters left home at 14, because the strain of it was so intense, she couldn’t do it any more. I’ve been making sense of that, and getting over that, and also forgiving and loving my father.

For all his flaws he’s the most kind and beautiful and generous person, and he didn’t know what he was doing.

That’s a persistent view, unfortunately.” The way this goes wrong for Clare isn’t all bad.

“She has this idea that she’s going to get off the plane and take photographs, and be an intellectual.

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