From director Andrea StakacomesFraulein, a sometimes intriguing, sometimes tepid drama about three generations of Southern European refugees who plant a flag in Switzerland. The most recent arrival, Ana (Marija Skaricic) has no plan beyond living her life out of a bus station locker and making enough money to eat and stay afloat. A generation above her is Ruza (Mirjana Karanovic), a 40-something who runs the cafe where Ana comes looking for work. Like Ana, Ruza fled the bloody Balkans and has no intention of ever going back, but she's had years to adapt to her homeland and to gain some measure of security. She's also affected a German no-nonsense attitude that causes her to cast a cold eye on this young woman who walks in out of nowhere, expecting help. Older than both of them is Mila (Ljubica Jovic), a Croatian who schemes with her husband to save up enough money to return to Croatia in style. The German Swiss community she's belonged to for so long has never really made a dent, we're led to believe.
If there's one thing Ruza understands, it's the difference between big and small problems, and the way the latter can turn into the former if not nipped in the bud. In dealing with her employees at the cafe, she's something of a Mayor Guiliani, punishing even the smallest infractions and keeping a watchful eye on all potential goofing-off, in the hopes that this kind of vigilance will stave off any kind of serious disregard for the rules. When we first meet her, she's confronted on her way into the office by Mila, who wants to offer up a young relative for a new position. Insulted that Mila would assume she can have such influence over hiring decisions, Ruza briskly informs her: "I do the hiring here." As you might expect, Ana's introduction into the picture is something of a catalyst to soften her up and make her remember that life is not just to be endured. Ana is also not above prodding her for a little Balkan solidarity, at one point bluntly asking: "Why do you speak German to me?"