Germany, the 1970s: Stephanie lives with her father and mother in a remote, shabby house. They have hardly any contact with the outside world. The life of this bright young girl is characterised by her symbiotic relationship with her mentally unstable mother, Sybille, who has never really let go of her own childhood. Sybille lies in bed pretty much all day, and when she does get up she wears a dressing gown. Father Reinhardt shows no interest in anything other than three meals a day.
Poignant psychological drama Fellwechselzeit ('moulting time'), made at the Baden-Württemberg film school in Ludwigsburg, is the debut fiction feature by director Sabrina Mertens, who has been making documentaries and short films since 2011. She captures the everyday dilemmas of this extremely unconventional family in minutes-long, painstakingly framed tableaux, paying great attention to seemingly insignificant details. What is unsaid lurks just below the surface of this mundane life. It is clear in every scene, however, that something is amiss.