Hausner's first feature focuses on a gauche teenage schoolgirl. The younger daughter to lower middle class parents who're slightly more disciplinarian than usual, she's misunderstood by her teachers and largely ignored by her schoolmates. Though she's still able to enjoy childhood japes with a fragile boy a few years younger than herself, she's also sufficiently curious about the adult world to start falling for a bus driver who barely notices her deliberately applied make-up. Try as she might (which isn't always very hard), she can't stay out of trouble, so she decides to take control. Opinions differ as to the effectiveness of the film's final ten minutes, required to give the narrative more obvious shape and raison d'être, perhaps, but it's also a touch redundant given the absolute authenticity of Hausner's witty, insightful depiction of adolescent growing pains, small town life and the way good intentions may dramatically backfire. Osika is perfect as Rita, half-child, half-woman, but then Hausner's cool, compassionate, naturalistic script, reminiscent of early Fassbinder, gives her plenty to play with.
Cast and crew