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.