Margaret, 35, has a history of violent behaviour which has cost her a romantic relationship. She has moved back in with her mother Christina, a fragile, immature 55-year-old woman who blames Margaret, her firstborn, for ruining her dreams of a career as a concert pianist. In a state of unbridled fury during an argument, Margaret hits Christina. The law steps in, further complicating family dynamics. As she awaits trial, Margaret is forbidden from coming into contact with her mother or within 100 metres of their home. This only intensifies her desire to be closer to her family. Every day, Margaret appears at this 100-metre threshold to see her 12-year-old sister Marion and give her music lessons.
In La ligne, Ursula Meier continues her exploration of atypical family constellations, redefining the idea of a family “circle” to consider its topographical dimensions. Her astonishing lead actor is literally wrenched from this circle and from her mother in a manner reminiscent of the pain of childbirth. One of the film’s remarkable achievements is its shifting mood which, echoing its protagonists’ emotional insecurities, slips back and forth between comedy and drama without warning. The tonal choices and directing are assured and as striking as, well, a punch in the face.
by Ursula Meier
with Stéphanie Blanchoud, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Elli Spagnolo, Dali Benssalah, India Hair, Benjamin Biolay, Eric Ruf, Thomas Wiesel, Jean-François Stévenin, Louis Gence
Switzerland / France / Belgium 2022 French 101’ Colour World premiere

With

  • Stéphanie Blanchoud (Margaret)
  • Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (Christina)
  • Elli Spagnolo (Marion)
  • Dali Benssalah (Hervé)
  • India Hair (Louise)
  • Benjamin Biolay (Julien)
  • Eric Ruf (Serge)
  • Thomas Wiesel (Claudio)
  • Jean-François Stévenin (Fisherman)
  • Louis Gence (Youri)

Crew

DirectorUrsula Meier
ScreenplayStéphanie Blanchoud, Ursula Meier, Antoine Jaccoud
CinematographyAgnès Godard
EditingNelly Quettier
MusicJean-François Assy, Stéphanie Blanchoud, Benjamin Biolay
Sound DesignEtienne Curchod, Franco Piscopo
SoundPatrick Becker
Production DesignIvan Niclass
CostumesAnna Van Brée
Make-UpKaatje Van Damme
CastingAurélie Guichard
Assistant DirectorSonia Rossier
Production ManagerNicolas Zen-Ruffinen
ProducersPauline Gygax, Max Karli
Co-ProducersMarie-Ange Luciani, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Delphine Tomson
Associate ProducersLionel Baier, Jean-Stéphane Bron, Ursula Meier, Frédéric Mermoud
Co-ProductionLes Films de Pierre, Paris
Les Films du Fleuve, Lüttich
Arte France Cinéma, Paris
RTS, Genf
RTBF, Brüssel
VOO, BE TV, Brüssel

Produced by

Bandita Films

World Sales

Ursula Meier

The French-Swiss filmmaker studied filmmaking in Belgium. She began her directing career with successful short films and documentaries. Her debut feature film, Home, premiered in the 2008 Semaine de la Critique at Cannes, was nominated for three César awards in 2009 and won prizes including the Swiss Film Prize for Best Fiction Film. Sister won the Special Award Silver Bear at the 2012 Berlinale. In 2018, Diary of my Mind, a TV film she made as part of the Shock Waves series inspired by Swiss news stories, screened in the Berlinale Panorama.

Filmography (selection)

1994 Le songe d’Isaac (Isaac’s Dream); short film 1998 Des heures sans sommeil (Sleepless); short film 2000 Autour de Pinget (About Pinget); documentary 2001 Tous à table (Table Manners); short film 2002 Pas les flics, pas les noirs, pas les blancs (Not the Cops, Not the Blacks, Not the Whites); documentary 2008 Home 2012 L’enfant d’en haut (Sister) 2014 Silence Mujo; segment of the episodic film “Bridges of Sarajevo” 2015 Kacey Mottet Klein, Naissance d’un acteur (Kacey Mottet Klein, Birth of an Actor); short film 2018 Ondes de choc – Journal de ma tête (Shock Waves – Diary of My Mind) 2021 La ligne (The Line)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022