watch Sonja trailer


Germany, 2007, 73 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Coming Out, Drama, Lesbian, Youth
Program: World Cinema
Language: German

DIRECTOR: Kirsi Marie Liimatainen

Stranded somewhere between childhood and adulthood, 16-year-old Sonja is frustrated with her parents, alienated from her peers and bored with her boyfriend Anton. In stark contrast to the awkward interactions with Anton are the blissful moments spent with her best friend Julia. What begins as girlish, playful affection between them soon gives way to gentle caresses and tender moments.
As Sonja cautiously reveals her growing feelings to Julia, she confides her unrestrained emotions to her diary, which is discovered by her disapproving mother. During a trip to her father’s seaside summer home, Sonja, caving to pressure from her peers and her parents, confronts her burgeoning sexuality in an uncomfortable encounter with an older man. Upon returning home — and to Julia — she emerges as a young woman with a clearer sense of her own identity, but now that she’s honest with herself, can she be honest with Julia?
This poignant exploration of teenage sexuality, unrequited love and identity is based on writer-director Kirsi Marie Liimatainen’s own adolescence growing up in Finland. With warmth and sincerity, her feature-length debut is refreshingly devoid of the overwrought angst of many coming-of-age stories and leaves us surprisingly nostalgic for that awkward innocence of adolescence, the thrill of falling in love for the first time and even the twinge of heartache — reminding us that, somehow, we survived. — HOLLY ROACH

co-presented by

San Francisco Women’s Film Festival

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