Cocoon (Kokon) – A delicate, yet vibrant portrait of youth

Cocoon will be released nationwide in selected cinemas and on-demand from the 11th December.

As the sun beats down on Berlin, Leonie Krippendorff laces the heat of summer with the uncontrollable fever of adolescence. In a delicate, yet vibrant portrait of youth that pulses with the heat, desire and trepidation of teenage life. With one unforgettable summer changing the rules and social structures surrounding two sisters; both held in the cocoon of adolescence. But, as sex, relationships and sexuality penetrate through the cushion between childhood and adulthood, the buds of new life emerge.

At the tender age of 14, Nora (Lena Urzendowsky) sits alongside her older sister Jule (Lena Klenke) and her outwardly confident friends. Her own wants and needs, submerged in a desire for peer acceptance. While at the same time, her sister tries to induct her into the group culture of her alcohol-fuelled social circle. The boys, hiding their insecurities under a blanket of bravado, while the girls debate sex, relationships and culture.

Meanwhile, Nora and Jule’s mother spends her days propped up in a local bar. The girls fending for themselves. Their care for one another, hiding the trauma of a family life wrapped in the pain of addiction. Their mother only offering the emotional support they need in short intervals between drinks – her lack of care, accepted by the girls and rarely challenged.

However, when a new girl arrives at school, Romy (Jella Haase), Nora finds herself suddenly surrounded by a set of new feelings. Her social awkwardness, replaced by an electric connection that baffles, excites and scares her. While at the same time, her body changes; the cocoon of girlhood, breached by the colour and sexuality of womanhood.

As Nora’s connection to Romy grows, her relationship with Jule and her social circle slowly fades; her own journey taking flight. But, can her emerging confidence also help build a new, open and honest relationship with Jule? And can Romy offer more than just a sexual awakening? In a summer where desire meets change in an explosion of sexuality, womanhood and sisterly love.

Cocoon shines as brightly as the sun at its centre, with Krippendorff beautifully reflecting the urgency of transformation. But, this is surrounded by a raw honesty in the journey we take alongside Nora and Jule. One that speaks to the turbulent transition into adult life, where parental support sits in a haze of addiction. The bonds of sisterhood replacing the support and care of parenthood. While at the same time limited in confidence and honesty, as both sisters try to find a unique voice in an ocean of competing social pressures.

However, it is Nora’s coming out journey that finds an exquisite and tender voice in Cocoon. With the fear and apprehension of emerging sexuality, laced with moments of pure joy, excitement and freedom. As the fragility of identity is captured with a sincerity also present in Show Me Love, and Blue is the Warmest Colour. And it’s here where Lena Urzendowsky is nothing short of stunning in the lead role. Her performance capturing the deepest emotions of teenage life through a simple look, gesture or action.

Meanwhile, the cinematography of Martin Neumeyer bathes each scene in the glow of summer, the warmth of hope, and the colder edges of inner-city life. But, it is within the delicate yet bold direction of Leonie Krippendorff that Cocoon excels beyond the average coming of age drama. Her exploration of youth culture, multiculturalism and sexuality both timeless yet equally fresh in construct. In a movie that beats with the energy, disappointment and vitality of youth.

Director: Leonie Krippendorff

Cast: Lena UrzendowskyJella HaaseLena Klenke, Elina Vildanova  

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