Paprika Steen’s powerhouse portrayal of a woman coming apart at the seams makes this one of the most gut-wrenching movie experiences at the festival. Thea is a famous actress whose deeply lined face and burnt-out eyes give you the impression that her best years have come and gone. Always the self-absorbed diva however, she never misses an opportunity to unleash her quick temper and caustic tongue thinking her celebrity status will somehow grant her immunity from life’s nastier consequences. But approaching middle age she finds herself embittered and very much alone; her abusive alcoholic rages have not only resulted in a messy divorce but also cost her the custody of her two young sons. Although she has played many roles on stage she seems lost when the spotlight is off of her; she failed as a wife and mother, she’s incapable of any empathy, and she’s alienated every friend she’s ever had. Desperate to reconnect with her children and attain some sense of personal balance she finds herself wandering in circles until a disastrous one-night stand with a bar pick-up and cataclysmic blowout with her ex provide her with the first glimmerings of a wake-up call. Zandvliet makes great use of handheld camerawork to give his film a sense of heightened reality while the washed out colours and flat lighting strip away any notion of romanticism. He then balances the script’s intensity with occasional flashes of mordant humour and unexpected tenderness; Thea’s outing with her boys offers a brief glimpse of the warm being beneath the corrosive exterior. Furthermore, he expertly splices scenes of Thea’s latest stage performance (she’s playing “Martha” in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ) into the film’s narrative resulting in a profound sense of irony as Albee’s theatrical words give voice to her own inner turmoil. Harrowing, tragic, and wholly believable; put this on your must-see list.