Blue My Mind (2017)

Blue My Mind first published by SciFiNow

It opens with a little red-haired girl on a rocky beach looking out to sea. Later we see that same girl Mia (Luna Wedler), now a teenager, in the new apartment (still visibly under construction) where she has just moved with her parents. And we see her frequently on overpasses and underpasses, with traffic rushing by. In other words, Mia is shown occupying symbolically liminal spaces, even as we watch her undergoing her own transition from childhood to adulthood. For Blue My Mind is a classic rite of passage, in which its physically changing protagonist has her first period and her first sexual encounter, and discovers her independence from a mother and father whose relationship to herself she barely recognises any more.

Like Carrie (1976), Ginger Snaps (2000), When Animals Dream (2014) and Thelma (2017), Lisa Brühlmann’s feature debut figures its young heroine’s coming of age as horror, with Mia’s emergent hybrid form encapsulating the interstitial nature of adolescence itself. After Mia has spontaneously devoured her mother’s pet goldfish, had her toes suddenly fuse together, and seen the skin on her legs bruise and shed, she will end up once more on that rocky beach, with the ocean of adult experience wide open ahead, just waiting for her to dive in.

Blue My Mind is a fishy tail of growing up, presenting all the awkward ickiness of sexual awakening (and the easy susceptibility of young women to male exploitation) with not only disarming frankness but also a lyrical beauty. For here, where genre is used as an expressive metaphor for teen alienation and transformation, Mia’s developing, bleeding body becomes, for her, an object of fascination, disgust and anxiety – and the feminine proves not so much monstrous as self-determining and liberating.

© Anton Bitel