16 May 2014 | SindreKaspersen
"Atmospheric, authentically surreal..."
American-German screenwriter and director Sherry Hormann's ninth feature film which was written by screenwriters Ruth Toma and Peter Reichard, is an adaptation of an unfinished screenplay by German filmmaker Bernd Eichinger and the autobiography of Austrian author Natascha Kampusch from 2010. It premiered in Germany, was screened in the German Cinema section at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival in 2014, was shot on locations in Germany and is a German production which was produced by producer Martin Moszkovich. It tells the story about a ten-year-old student, daughter and sister named Natascha Kampusch who lives in a house in the capital city of Austria with her parents, and who one day whilst on her way to school is abducted by a thirty-six-year-old unemployed telecommunications technician in a white van named Wolfgang Priklopil and taken to his residence.
Distinctly and precisely directed by German filmmaker Sherry Hormann, this finely paced and somewhat fictional tale which is narrated mostly from the two main characters' viewpoints, draws a densely abridged portrayal of a premeditated crime where an adolescent girl is forced to act out her part in an Austrian man's escapist fantasy and engage in a non-existing relationship which he has constructed in his mind. While notable for its naturalistic and atmospheric milieu depictions, reverent cinematography by German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, production design by production designer Bernd Lepel, costume design by costume designer Gabrielle Binder and use of sound, colors and light, this narrative-driven story about psychological oppression, physical assault, starvation, lost adolescence, pathological possession of another person's free will and capacity of survival where an enslaved girl is told a tale about a prince whom has found his princess and where acting goes beyond its boundaries and envisages the art of getting into the spirit of ones character, depicts two merging studies of character and contains a timely score by composer Martin Todsharow.
This mindfully biographical, efficiently theatrical and utterly heartrending character piece which is set in Wien, Austria in the late 20th century and 21st century, which reconstructs real events in the life of a then child who was kidnapped by a stranger in the late 1990s, and where a person whose main concern is returning to her mother and father starts a game of pretend in a basement room her perpetrator has locked her into which she maintains in their interactions, and which he discovers and begins directing to sustain his imposed mental power, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, depictions of Natascha Maria's inhumane condition and the conscientious acting performances by Northern Irish actress Antonia Campbell-Hughes and Danish actor Thure Lindhardt. An atmospheric, authentically surreal and cinematographic narrative feature.