an Esther Löwe film

By unanimous decision, the jury of the Filmbewertungsstelle Wiesbaden
(The German Film Council) has presented Merry-Go-Round with its coveted seal of approval, awarding it the rating ‘besonders wertvoll’ (highly recommended).

The German Film Council’s Press Release

Dusty toys, yellowing photos, old clothes and furniture—what better place for children to play and fantasize in than an attic full of odds and ends? At any rate, Lola and her little brother have fun playing hide-and-seek there. Soon, however, a prank between siblings becomes dead serious. The noises and shadows grow ever more mysterious. Director Esther Löwe has succeeded in creating a fairytale short film with a fabulously eerie atmosphere. The children’s game is intense and emotional, the setting provides wonderful opportunities for spine-chilling motifs. Whether a shadow behind a door, an old rocking horse or dolls without eyes which hang on the wall—everything, enhanced by a superb soundtrack, raises pleasurable goosebumps and creates a timeless, surreal film experience. The story itself remains cryptic, which further adds to the allure. A marriage of technical mastery and entertainment in one film.

Jury Statement

Rating: Highly Recommended

Esther Löwe’s stunning talent is amply demonstrated by her short film Merry-Go-Round. The goodnight story at the very beginning possesses poetic qualities which capture the viewer’s attention, creating suspense and conjuring a fairytale atmosphere. As the story unfolds it soon becomes clear that brother and sister, while not Hansel and Gretel, are nevertheless two forsaken children who experience an ambivalent emotional drama in their self-contained world. Visually, the film is exceedingly rich. The props in the attic are partly symbolic or enigmatic, partly eye-catching rarities. The soundscape is very sophisticated. For example, when Lola looks at a stone and findings from the beach, we hear the muted swell of the surf. To communicate, Lola and her brother Taro have a tin-can telephone. Soon a virtuosic, breathtaking chamber play ensues, replete with emotional ups and downs. Esther Löwe’s team demonstrate outstanding artistry, and the children act their roles superbly. During the deliberations, the jury praised the film’s diverse formal qualities and considered the profound semantic questions raised by such a universal tale. The decision of the jury was unanimous: Merry-Go-Round deserves the rating ‘highly recommended’.

And as you can imagine, I’m beaming with maternal pride!