2 April 2018 | paul-allaer
Germans standing in the long shadows of WW II
"Amnesia" (2015 release from France/Switzerland; 96 min.) brings the story of Martha, a woman in her 60s or so, and Jo, a guy in his 20s. As the movie opens, we see Martha enjoying the sunset somewhere on an island. We then go to "10 years earlier - Spring, 1990", shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall. Martha is speaking English to her German brother who is trying to convince her to sell something back in Germany. Later, Martha's new neighbor Jo stops by as he cuts his hand accidentally. Jo is a DJ from Berlin hoping to make it big on Ibiza. Martha doesn't disclose to him that she is German, and they converse in English. Martha also refuses to ride in his car (a VW). Along the way, Martha and Jo become good friends. At this point we're not even 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you';; just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from director Barbet Schroeder (Single White Female; Reversal of Fortune)> Here he tackles a very different topic, namely the long shadows of WW II onto ordinary Germans. The movie is paced very slowly, and it takes quite a while to find the movie's definitive direction, but once we get there, there is no escaping it. The acting by both leads (Marthe Keller as Martha, and Max Riemelt as Jo) really carry the movie. The movie's photography is pure eye-candy, and in a way the film can be viewed as a 90 min. commercial for Ibiza. And let's not forget Schroeder. He has been making films since 1969 (when he directed "More", yes, the film for which Pink Floyd did the soundtrack). The guy is now in his 70s and he is still going very strong. And why not!
"Amnesia" premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. I don't think that it ever got a US theatrical release, but thank goodness for the folks at Film Movement, which eventually released it as part of its Movie of the Month Club releases. That is how I eventually got to see it. If you are in the mood for a foreign talk (no action!) about the long shadows of WW II, I encourage you to check this out.