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My Family Is a Theme Park

Mar 09, 2018 |
Video by Bernhard Wenger

“I went to the amusement park in search of a story,” Bernhard Wenger, director of Keeping Balance, told The Atlantic. “When I saw Denise on the Tagada [carousel], I was thrilled. I asked her how she could do her moves. Her first answer was, ‘I've been doing this almost every day for six years.’”

In Wenger’s poignant short documentary, 20-year-old Denise describes how a history of abuse and neglect led her to seek a surrogate family in the employees of Vienna’s Prater amusement park. She found solace and a purpose perfecting the ability to defy gravity on the fast-spinning carousel. Keeping Balance is a visually-thrilling portrait of a young woman who has discovered a unique way of accepting her troubled past.

“Denise wanted to tell her story in this film,” said Wenger, “because on the one hand, it is a way to get over things. On the other hand, it is important for her to show people that no matter how bad things are, you can always make it. You have to believe in yourself. There is always a way.”

Author: Emily Buder