A clash between two girls at a riding stables. Emma joins a group that is learning how to perform acrobatic exercises on horseback. Here she meets Cassandra, an experienced circus rider who at once recognises the new girl’s talent from the way she keeps a tight rein on the horses with strong, controlled movements. Cassandra is good-looking and strong-willed with a vibrant personality – the two young women find themselves drawn to each other. Before long, their mutual attraction turns into a symbiotic friendship. But then things begin to get complicated; misunderstandings arise that lead to arguments. All at once the two girlfriends’ relationship is pervaded by jealousy and power and this turns into a struggle for supremacy. And this in spite of their riding instructor’s recent reminder: “It’s not always about strength and control. It’s about creating your own presence.” Emma’s little sister might only be seven, but she couldn’t agree more with this piece of advice from the riding instructor. She wants nothing more than to own a new bikini, preferably with a leopard-skin pattern, so that she can impress her cousin Sebastian, with whom she has fallen in love. Emma and Cassandra’s friendship is now definitely on the rocks. Who will get the upper hand? Failing to execute a particular horseback exercise one day, Emma decides to find out once and for all. She confronts Cassandra in the stables. –Berlinale
A compelling look at simmering adolescent female sexuality and competitiveness within a motherless family unit. Set against the backdrop of the Swedish teen equestrian scene, for a first film this is really decent. It's beautifully shot with a subtle, inventive score and great performances from everyone. It manages to dip into some tricky territory without crossing over into Solondz-creep-exploitation. 3.5 stars
Beautiful cinematography throughout the movie. It's inspiring and touching through the details it presents. The characters' stories are familiar to every teenager, yet the performers manage to create an ambiance of mystique around these experiences. How they move through their feelings and personal challenges is followed very closely by the movie-makers. A very reflective movie in general.
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