Sonia, a young Russian woman, decides to leave friends and family in St Petersburg and seek a better future in the west. She is about to experience the illusion of a new life and a hell for those whose life has nothing more to offer. Travelling through Germany, Italy and finally Portugal, she will have to bear all the misery and humiliation that the trade in and exploitation of the weakest brings with it.
Trance is the fifth film by Teresa Villaverde, whose overwhelming debut A idade maior was screened in 1992 in Rotterdam. Her work is uncompromising, intense, idiosyncratic and poetic - in this case no meaningless labels.
In one of the first shots, we see that the sky above the horizon of the sea has been replaced by earth. The world turned upside down. But that is also reality for the young Sonia, who basically falls prey to evil men as soon as she crosses the border. This ‘other Europe’, Villaverde wants to tell us, is also under discussion. The seamy side, you could say, of the false promises that fill the affluent west. Sonia’s optimism slowly but surely turns into a feeling of despair and hopelessness. Later in the film, Sonia falls into the hands of a rich Italian. The film now changes from an intimidating, realistic story into a grim fairytale - a nightmare that looks beautiful, but in which you cannot live. Trance is a cinematographic masterpiece. (EH)

Teresa Villaverde
Countries of production
Portugal, Russia, France, Italy
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2007
International title
Russian, Italian, German, Portuguese
Paulo Branco
Production Companies
Clap Filmes, Hermitage Bridge Studio, Revolver Films, Gemini Films
Mad Filmes
Teresa Villaverde
João Ribeiro
Andrée Davanture
Production Design
Zé Branco
Sound Design
Murielle Damain, Vasco Pimentel
Ana Moreira, Vitor Rakov