Mort-31

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Reviews

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
(2004)

Life and Death?
Why do the makers of an otherwise highly inventive biopic chose the fairly uncreative title 'The Life and Death of Peter Sellers', especially if the actual death of that person is not shown in the film at all, but only mentioned in writing as a part of the end credits? Does this mean that Peter Sellers started 'dying' at a very early stage of his life, and that what we saw was not only his life but, at the same time, his death? This question has bothered me ever since I saw this film.

However, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers is absolutely great - no: grand. It is one of the most adequate film biographies I have ever seen: entertaining and subtle, fearless and extremely touching in its combination of form and contents. It is perfectly adequate for the person it portrays and also for the medium it uses. (Normal film biographies usually fail to deal with the problem of having to cut a long life to make a two-hour film without confusing anybody and without leaving any holes.) Stephen Hopkins and his unbelievably marvelous lead actor Geoffrey Rush have mastered an apparently impossible task: they have portrayed this interesting genius in a way that makes us understand Sellers' personality, although Sellers himself said that he had no own personality and was desperately looking for one. Geoffrey Rush does what Peter Sellers failed to do: being there as Peter Sellers.

I love everything about this film: the way the image switches from "Breaking the Waves"-style whenever it shows Emily Watson to gaudy sixties colors whenever showing us the films of Peter Sellers (and those inside his head); Peg's sad "death scene"; or one of the last scenes where Sellers is standing in the yard of the bistro as if he was frozen, waiting for Blake Edwards.

Watch this film and enjoy its courage, enjoy the incredible acting performances and enjoy the story of this legendary egocentric.

Feux rouges
(2004)

About Antoine Dunan
After "L'ennui", this was the second Cédric-Kahn-movie I have seen, and I found it great. Kahn proves himself a specialist on ridiculous men lacking self-confidence and absolutely inapt to retain some dignity in a modern world like this.

The thriller plot, as stated by some earlier commentators, may be a little weak, especially as regards the "man on the run" (he is obviously taken directly from the Simenon novel but his character is neither fish nor foul). But this is not what it is all about. The thriller plot is merely an excuse to give a touching and disturbing portrayal of character Antoine (and his marriage).

Let me answer to two of the "plot holes" discovered by two other commentators: Antoine's drinking does make sense; he drinks because of frustration and a minority complex for not feeling man enough in the presence of his successful wife. His drinking is a childish act of defiance, he is not a sensible grown-up, not a man (as he keeps repeating himself). And of course, he doesn't recall all these telephone numbers from his memory; as indicated with one of the first calls, he calls directory inquiries and has himself connected to the respective partner each time (remember, there is cuts between the various calls).

Red Lights is a brilliant character study concealed as a masterpiece of suspense. Darroussin gives a touching performance in his role as hero and anti-hero at the same time. He is not particularly likable but still makes us feel sorry for him.

The ending, which I am not going to reveal here, is stirring in a very subtle way because above all it raises the question how it is all going to go on.

I like stories in which weird things happen out of character logic. This is a particular successful one.

Höllentour
(2004)

For cycling fans only
I am not a cycling fan, and I would not have gone to see this film if I had not won the tickets.

Now, having seen it, I would still rather have won tickets for any another one because this documentary is not nearly as enthralling for people like me as it would for somebody who is a real cycling fan who watches the Tour de France on television every year.

On the other hand, it was not as boring as I expected. Especially the first of the two hours had bizarre and even funny scenes, a weird display of reality that makes some documentaries so interesting, and some of the images of the French landscape and this colourful mass of people cycling through it are really beautiful and sensational.

The whole film has something sensationalistic to it, especially created by the powerful and rather heavy score. Well, I guess this made it at least more entertaining for non-fans like me.

La demoiselle d'honneur
(2004)

Hysterical household
This movie did not particularly convince me. Maybe my expectations went in a completely wrong direction but nevertheless I discovered some flaws that really disturbed my pleasure of this basically interesting film.

The plot line grows more and more absurd and - in its absurdity - predictable as the story goes on. This would not matter to me (as I do not really mind that we are never given an explanation for the strange and questionable features that strike us right from the beginning, especially in connection with Senta and the bust) if the characters were a little more subtly portrayed. All of the characters (Magimel's at the least) are exaggerated and near-hysterical, and therefore close to various type clichés (the rebelling teen daughter stealing, colouring her hair AND piercing her nose; the bridegroom, who is revealed as an idiot the instant we see him, calling his bride embarrassing terms of endearment; the mother smiling hopefully throughout as if she was on drugs). I am sure all this is not due to bad acting but done so intentionally. But I fail to understand what kind of quality it is supposed to add to the film. Humour? I don't know; I laughed occasionally but not very often.

This is the kind of film that I am sure is fun making; but then it should not be shown publicly.

Caligola
(1979)

Excessively excessive
As many reviews have stated, this film is utter rubbish. It seems to have no point but violence and porn - and I can say this, although I haven't seen the 170-minutes version, only one that ran 147 minutes. But I guess all they left out was some ejaculations.

For me, "Caligula" has about the quality of "The Passion of the Christ": it is a film worst seeing because it lacks any notion of art, because its pompous an megalomaniac, and because famous actors are in it. McDowell is a good actor, he does his best to portray the mad emperor convincingly. Peter O'Toole is really great as Tiberius: for me, he is the ultimate highlight of this film. And Helen Mirren is at least well-cast as Caesonia, Caligula's worn-out but clever and affectionate wife.

I don't know why but I think it is a film one should have seen, maybe because of the extremity of disproportion and excessiveness.

Mélyen örzött titkok
(2004)

Surprisingly watchable
rarely does one see Hungarian films in Austria. This one was a Hungarian-Finn-Austrian co-production, which, i suppose, is the reason why I had the chance to see it here.

"Guarded Secrets" is a really nice and touching movie, with quite a complex story and interesting characters, stupendously acted, especially by the two Irma Varrós. The dialogue got a little too sentimental for my taste, but that is typically Hungarian.

I really liked the ending: After two thirds of the film I started asking myself: how can they possibly put a sound end to this story? And they really managed to!

All in all, I found this film surprisingly watchable, much better than "Szép napok" by Kornél Mundruczó, which I found a little too over-the-top.

The Silence of the Lambs
(1991)

Some new aspects
When I first saw this film, I was about 14, lying in my bed, watching it in German on TV late at night, with the lights on, and almost falling asleep (probably actually dozing for a couple of minutes now and then). When I was waking up once, noticing Hannibal Lecter on my television screen, looking at me with his alive, clear eyes and speaking to me about screaming lambs, that was surely one of the most exciting moments in my movie-interested life. So it is definitely a good idea to see this at night, with one's concentration wandering away.

Now I saw it again (at daylight!), and many other things struck me. The character of Catherine Martin is actually really cool. The snobbish daughter of a famous politician reacts to the terrible things that are done to her in an unusually offensive way - it looks as if she was never giving up.

And then did you notice how utterly serious this film is? There is not a single funny scene in it. And this is really great! Which other feature film today manages to be taken seriously by everybody and never being unintentionally funny although it does not have a single moment of irony? The humorous take-outs attached to the DVD version seem really weird and out of place when you are in the mood this unbelievable film creates.

Hurensohn
(2004)

Demimonde soap
What will the adolescent son of a Yugoslavian mother in Vienna feel, when he finds out that she has been a prostitute since before he was born and not a waitress, as everybody told him? This might be an interesting question, and a very good starting point for a book or a film.

Unfortunately, writer-director Michael Sturminger doesn't have a lot to say about the topic. He is obviously a good director, impressively guiding the young boys who play the child Ozren and presenting good-looking, sometimes even beautiful images. The problem is that he completely fails as a screenwriter. His dialogues are stale and therefore really embarrassing. The story lacks ideas and surprise on the one hand, while being painfully exaggerated on the other hand. And the Vienna demimonde is presented full of clichés.

The leading actors are not bad but they appear to be because the things they have to say are unnatural and hackneyed. Hearing Ozren's uncle and aunt droning out their pearls of wisdom makes you want to escape.

Maybe the novel was bad. I don't know. But at least, Sturminger should have left the adaptation to somebody else and applied for a job as a soap opera writer.

Zwei Väter einer Tochter
(2003)

Complete disaster
This might be the worst movie I have ever seen; and I have seen - and commented on many movies. The mere fact that Reinhard Schwabenitzky has, as usual, made a shallow comedy with an all-star cast lead by his oh-so-sexy wife Elfi Eschke, to please some German-speaking pensioners who would otherwise watch "Traumschiff", doesn't make the film bad, only not very interesting.

Also I will not criticize in detail the enormously stupid plot (which lacks even the smallest bit of surprise) because maybe an unelievable story is what a comedy sometimes needs to be funny.

The most terrible thing is that obviously nobody involved in this production had any fun or only the slightest motivation to make the film something special, maybe because they found the screenplay so exceedingly unfunny. After receiving their salary, none of the actors cared any more.

Elfi Eschke repeats for the 147th time her cheeky-but-very-erotic character, which is exactly the same as in the likeable "Fast perfekte..." series. Peter Fricke shows at least some talent in doing the classic chaotic-but-rigorous-boss/chaotic-but-rigorous-father acting. All the other performers do not at all bother to do any more than saying their lines, and those lines then sound extremely unnatural and forced.

This film is an embarrassment for the once charming Reinhard Schwabenitzky, and it is an embarrassment for the Austrian acting league.

Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
(2002)

Go for the man they called Horst!
!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!

I like macabre and morbid humour, and I usually laugh about it because, to put it shortly, it's my opinion that life IS macabre and morbid at times.

I didn't laugh during Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, but I didn't cry either. This is the first film I considered "too macabre" because I felt the humorous touch given to extremely sad incidents in the film were forced and the scenes could have easily worked without them.

Wilbur's brother Harbour is such an unbearably miserable character that he can't be quite real. First of all, he has a very silly name. Then, his mother didn't love him as much as she loved Wilbur, his father didn't love him as much as he loved Wilbur, his stepdaughter loves Wilbur more; he has to care for Wilbur who keeps committing suicide attempts believing he is funny while simply looking like Robbie Williams and therefore being very popular; he gets cancer and kills himself (successfully!), and in the end, his widow visits his grave hand in hand with Wilbur.

I think, this is just sadistic. The actors of course, are very convincing. And there are too extraordinary jokes in the film, both involving the same character. Watch it, for Dr. Horst only!

Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon
(2003)

Elvis Presley meets Ace Ventura in "India"
I think the only way a Western European cineast can bear the minimum-three-hour schmaltz of a typical Bollywood flic like this is by inviting some friends for a DVD night and laughing, shaking heads and making fun throughout the film. That's what I did, which is why the film was a great experience for me. Of course this doesn't prevent me from noticing the terrible cinematic quality of this film. In addition to the usual Bollywood film weirdnesses, this one had: unbearable misunderstandings, emotional pain of a degree that causes a head-ache even thousands of miles away in Austria, and a terribly over-acting clown looking like a mixture of Elvis Presley and Ace Ventura. Oh, and Ace Ventura reminds me of the animated red parrott and the half-animated dog, both supposed to be funny but completely displaced.

Switch off your brains, invite some friends and enjoy this extremely physical experience!

Gebürtig
(2002)

Great Daniel Olbrychski
Robert Schindel's novel "Gebürtig" includes a highly complex mix of characters all dealing with their past. It is told from different points of view, in different literary styles. It is very difficult to transfer this heterogenous web to the screen. The author and his friend Lukas Stepanik have tried, and as expected, they succeeded in some respects and failed in others.

On the whole, the film turned out rather confused. Some messages are made very clear, others remain MESSages. The acting is good, even excellent in some cases, and the Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski manages to give a perfect, absolutely transparent and convincing portray of the story's most interesting character, the German journalist Konrad Sachs.

This film adaptation is not perfect but okay. Read the book first.

Tangled
(2001)

This story had better not been told
What a stupid, ridiculous little movie! It doesn't work as a thriller, the acting is not bad enough to call it an unintentional comedy, and it can't tell us anything about life either. The only thing I learned from it was that it is not completely uncomprehensible that so many girls are mad about Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

All the three actors do their best to conceal the catastrophic weaknesses of the screenplay. They fail yet raising interest in themselves: Rachel Leigh Cook is sweet, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is a decent maniac, and Shawn Hatosy is perfectly natural as the miserable "good son". I hope the actors really got a lot of money for this film. So much for the positive aspects.

Right from the start the film fails to build up any suspense or even interest in the allegedly mysterious events that go on in the flashbacks. The mix of characters is much too arbitrary to form an attractive plot, so the way they act is stupid and not at all convincing. Single scenes are highly over-directed by use of dramatic music and even more dramatic one-liners. I was prepared for a plot twist but then the film was over and I realized I had missed that "plot" "twist".

This is even too bad for television.

Picasso in München
(1997)

Herbert Achternbusch works on Picasso, and we are supposed to say uh-huh
I think it is almost impossible to understand Achternbusch's work entirely because he stuffs it with subjective views noone except him is able to appreciate. His scenes are funny, really bizarre but the Brechtian way of directing (having untalented actresses speak their lines without any palpable emotion) makes the humour move to the background, so the film is exhausting to watch in the first place. Take this as a warning.

Herbert Achternbusch has recorded his own private interest in Picasso on film (including admittedly excellent Picassoesque paintings by the filmmaker himself), and we are supposed to watch and say uh-huh. I found it quite interesting and original, yet it was a clearly brain- and not at all heart-shattering experience.

Das weite Land
(1969)

A bunch of brilliant Austrian actors
Schnitzler's brilliant play Far and Wide was brought to the telescreen in 1970. It is a real FILM, not a recording of a stage performance, yet the text has not been altered, only heavily but intelligently abridged. The film is set in rich but not very friendly gardens, which, partly, makes up for the untypically dark atmosphere. Other reasons are the shocking quality of sound and light and very poor technical means (one gets used to them after a while). Also some comic reliefs of the play were radically reduced or left out completely.

After reading the play, it was very interesting to see this film because of its superb yet unusual main cast. O.W. Fischer and Ruth Leuwerik, the stars of schmaltzy 1950s melodramas mostly featuring mountains, hills and folk music, are playing the Hofreiters here, the most unromantic couple in German literature. Both are perfect: Fischer is warm, silent and full of bitterness (not as aggressively humorous as Schnitzler's Hofreiter), and Leuwerik manages to walk on the thin red line between composure and despair.

Sweet Sabine Sinjen is the ideal cast as the naive and unpredictable Lolita. André Heller, Michael Heltau and Bibiane Zeller give early performances in short scenes, and they all fit their characters perfectly, although they do not have much to say. The same is true for the great Austrian legend Helmut Qualtinger, who turns the small but decisive part of Herr Natter a main character. The worst actor is Walter Reyer: he makes his Dr. Mauer smile dreamily throughout the film, which is nothing more than a misinterpretation of the character.

I don't think outsiders, seeing this film, will be able to perceive the entire complexity of Schnitzler's play. But it is definitely worth it because they will see a marvellous bunch of famous Austrian actors. For fans of Schnitzler, it is a wonderful, almost academic experience.

Du bringst mich noch um
(1994)

Surprise, surprise! No surprises...
There are many ways to surprise an audience. One quite odd way is to leave out ANY kind of surprise the audience would expect. This, however, is not a very pleasant surprise because it gives you the strange feeling that you have wasted your time.

In writing and directing this film, Wolfram Paulus has simply taken the classical romantic-comedy/adultery scheme and refused to add anything else. I award an extra star for this really bold procedure, dared at a time when (romantic-comedy/adultery) movies were 100 years old and his film was not the very first most viewers had seen in their life.

Obviously, Paulus's leading couple was happy to earn easy money. Zirner and Flint are all right, but they can't make the film more exciting than it is conceived to be. The best performances come from the Austrian actors who play the cheated partners: sweetly naive Gabriela Benesch on the one hand, and the great Georg Schuchter (who died much too early) on the other.

The rest is silence. Really. You cannot say more about this film because there is nothing else.

?

Der schweigende Stern
(1960)

Surprisingly Kubrickesque
Recently shown at the Viennale Filmfestival, this movie (one of only five East German sci-fi films) was spoken of rather than of a trashy museal antique stuffed with communist ideology. I had thought it would be about the quality of Plan 9 from Outer Space, so I was surprised to discover that First Spaceship on Venus is not at all trashy! A lot of money seems to have been invested in the design of the mysterious landscape on venus and the spacecraft. The technical effects look highly professional!

As regards ideology, one can't make out more than a slightly pathetic call for peace in the world (which is perfectly agreeable, really) and a casual remark on how well Soviet astronomy is developed. The crew of the spaceship, though, includes an American and a Japanese as well, so it is openly international.

The moment the spacecraft starts, however, the science-fiction story stands in the foreground. It was written by Stanislaw Lem and is therefore quite interesting, shocking and full of suspense - another aspect I wouldn't have expected to get in a film like that. Of course, the acting is stiff, dialogues are reduced to a necessary minimum and the romantic element in the plot is too weak to be convincing. Probably, the screenwriters have removed most of the depth of Lem's original novel. Nevertheless, the whole film manages to evoke Kubrickesque feelings at times (note that it was made before 2001: A Space Odyssey!) and serves as an interesting historical document but also as good sci-fi fun on a Sunday afternoon.

Elephant
(2003)

Artificial reality II
Yes, a great film! A simple but great film. Isn't that what is most characteristic about Gus Van Sant's work? He develops a plan or a draft for a film that hasn't existed yet but can be described in a few sentences, and then he carries it out without much ado. Thus, no film is like the other.

The lengthy, endless shots of people walking forward have been tried out already in Gerry though, and Van Sant seems to like them. In Elephant, they are a bit too long maybe. But at least this repetition shows that Van Sant is not only after pure innovation.

Now is this film shocking? If you don't find it shocking, this is evidence that you don't find high school shootings shocking any more because there have been too many of them, which is shocking enough.

Of course, there are some similarities to the films of Larry Clark. But hey! The kids in Elephant are much nicer, much less rotten than those in Kids or Ken Park. They don't drink any alcohol and they are not having any orgies. Still, they have problems, much more realistic problems. Another point for Mr. Van Sant.

Gerry
(2002)

Artificial reality I
Imagine this: I saw Gerry at the 2003 Vienna International Film Festival. It started at midnight, I had seen three other films before the same day, and I was completely exhausted. And though these are not the best prerequisites for liking this film, I enjoyed it all over. I loved it. I felt inspired and enlightened, yet not particularly awake after those 103 minutes.

Gerry is a perfect, never expected mix of absurdity, surrealism and hardcore realism. It is a wonderful evidence that artificial works can indeed have a realistic aspect. When I read that Arvo Pärt, the composer of the Gerry soundtrack is also responsible for the music in Carlos Reygadas's Japan I was not surprised. The two films have very much in common but I prefer Gerry because it does not at all try to be clever. It gives us a couple of riddles to solve but there are no solutions and there is no ending except maybe the natural one: death.

There are various issues and messages that can be read in Gerry (and in the various reviews and comments written about it). Reading some of them, Van Sant, Damon and Affleck will possibly have a good laugh. I decided to see Gerry mainly as a personal adventure movie. Yes, really. When I was camping in Iceland last year, one day I got lost in the highways together with two friends. Soon we ran out of water and it took us hours till we found our way back. The fact of getting lost in the deserts was quite exciting on the one hand, on the other hand the day was quite monotonous and really painful. Most of the time we didn't talk, and sometimes we talked about trivial things. We were walking and walking and walking. Just like Gerry and Gerry.

For me this is the most purely BEAUTIFUL film of the century.

Carte de Visite - Der V'03-Trailer
(2003)

Minimalistic!
I have seen short films at this year's Viennale Film Festival which must have required a huge amount of work, resulting in `experiments' of five minutes' length that were interesting for the filmmakers themselves but almost unbearably annoying for the viewers. The Viennale trailer by Ernie Gehr is exactly the opposite. It must have taken him exactly a minute to film the cloudy sky above him and maybe a couple of days to find and edit the appropriate sound material.

As a film, Carte de Visite is not worth a lot, of course; as the trailer of a film festival it is beautiful because it gives our imagination a lot of space to interpret and to analyze. But if you want, you may as well forget it.

A Room with a View in the Financial District
(2003)

A complete stranger's holiday slide show
This is a very personal film, so maybe one shouldn't criticize it too harshly.

But I can't help mentioning that it is boring. Carola Dertnig's text is quite unusual regarding its issue (the decline of the New Economy) but it is read in a way that makes you fall asleep, in a bad English (as the author is Austrian, she could have written and read her text in German - well, obviously she would have had to produce subtitles then). Noone except the filmmaker herself can associate anything with the pictures shown. If it were not, incidentally, about the World Trade Center, the destruction of which (that happened a few months later) creates a bizarre sub-text, the film would be nothing but a complete stranger's holiday slide show.

Zatôichi
(2003)

From the eyes of a complete stranger
"Even with my eyes open, I can't see a thing." Message number one. Very wise.

Takeshi Kitano is a funny man. When you look into his face, there is always a notion of a smile (or a suppressed grin) to make out. But as he has this undeliberate wink, you can not be sure whether he means to be joking because actually he does not laugh very often, or in fact means to be serious. That's a communication problem often connected with the Japanese in western countries.

Takeshi's films usually display this strange kind of humour. While the films are highly epic and visually astonishing, the funny scenes appear at moments where you wouldn't expect them and usually destroy some moment of fascination. That is something I really appreciate because it shows that the filmmaker does neither take himself nor the strict and irony-lacking Japanese traditions too seriously, and thus probably he tells us to act the same. Message number two. Very wise, too.

As for the rest, I cannot say much because I am not familiar with the Japanese legend this film seems to be based upon. I saw the film at the Viennale Film Festival and I enjoyed it (particularly when, to my surprise, it turned out to be partly a parody on musicals!) but I guess for my western brain the weird enough present-day Japan is more interesting to explore than that of two or three hundred years ago. So I clearly preferred the Festival's opening film, which also plays in Japan: Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation.

Intolerable Cruelty
(2003)

A bold breech of fashion?
Intolerable Cruelty is the Coen Brothers' worst film. It's the least attractive, shallowest of their movies – I guess because, as I was surprised and irritated to see, the studio interfered in matters of screenplay and production. Still, it is one of their funniest movies and clearly better than anybody else's film. The Coen Brother might be making concessions to commercialism but they are still the best!

Visually, the film is really weak. Catherine Zeta-Jones wearing that red dress all the time (of course, this might be explained by a later plot twist…), no characteristic vanishing point at the horizon and a rather boring editing.

The fact, of course, that the film seems not particularly deep is a deliberate means of style. For a couple of years now, the Coen Brothers have tried to post-modernize various genres of film they love. This time it's the 1930s/1940s battle-of-the-sexes screwball comedy, and the interesting thing is that this genre has already had a second hype during the early 1990s. By now, these films seem rather outdated, and so does Intolerable Cruelty. I wonder whether the Coen Brothers realize that they are committing a rather bold breech of fashion.

George Clooney is not very good but funny, the same is true for Catherine Zeta-Jones. The Coens do not need sensitive, subtle actors like most of the celebrated directors of today, they need caricatures to display their surreal view on America well. Every characters has to be kind of extreme, artificial and exaggerated, so that hilarious dialogues can be created around them. As a consequence, it must mean endless fun to play such a character in a Coen film like Billy Bob Thornton's quirkily passionate `oil billionaire', Geoffrey Rush's bitterly revenge-taking TV producer, Jonathan Hadary's indescribable concierge and Edward Herrmann's red-faced `silly ‘usband'.

Slightly disappointed, but with great respect, I rate Intolerable Cruelty 7 out of 10.

Lost in Translation
(2003)

Strange encounter
My favourite actors are those who have their own special hilarious humour and do not completely lose it when cast in a so-called "serious" or "sad" movie. Bill Murray is such an actor. My favourite films are those like Punch-Drunk Love and Lost in Translation, where directors have used comical actors in non-comedies in intelligent ways, using their well-known kind of humour and playing with audiences' expectations. Coppola has written the role of Bob Harris for Bill Murray, and no one else yet known would have done a better job than him.

But not only when you focus on its male lead, Lost in Translation is a wonderful film. Scarlett Johansson (of whom I admit I had never heard before) is young but strong, beautiful and mysterious, the perfect cast for the strangely fragile Charlotte she portrays. The "chemistry" between the two is fantastic, although they are of different age and experience.

The first thirty minutes are funnier than most of what I saw this year. Afterwards the film retires a bit, becoming slower and more openly melancholic without giving up its humorous approach completely. How could it? The strange encounter between two strange people and a country which is even stranger must result in laughter at least a couple of times: be it a light or a depressed kind of laughter.

And then there is Tokyo. I don't know how it comes but Coppola showed me this town quite like I imagined it to be (without ever having been there) but from very distant angles, which makes it appear really beautiful as well, not just gaudy, hectical and sterile.

I think I should go to see this movie once again. But doing so, I believe, would only make me love it even more than I do now.

And I should visit Tokyo.

Sie haben Knut
(2003)

Who did you like best?
Very nice. A gathering of young people at a 1980ies Tyrolean skiing hut. Various stories unfold amongst them, as they spend their holidays skiing, having (more or less) fun and rearranging their love relationships. Some of the stories result in conclusions, others don't, like in real life. The most "suspenseful` plot thread is the alleged arrest of the person who has invited all those people: Knut. How will it affect the holiday mood of each guest? Will he ever appear?

Many of the friends coming together are leftist revolutionists, which made the film especially amusing for me because some of my friends are, too (still!), and I have spent a couple of holidays at huts, with endless discussions about who should cook, who will have to do the washing-up, and what is best for the group. These slightly ridiculous phenomenon of making every-day life a political/democratic matter is portrayed very well here, thanks to extremely realistic acting and visual aesthetics reminding of 1980ies TV series.

The question here is not what the plot is about. The film deals with many different issues. Every viewer can choose the issue they like best. And they can choose the guest they found funniest. Jan, the big-mouthed singer? Ingo, the scholar, who is repelled by the leftist group but soon begins to use their methods himself without noticing? Rolf, who is only interested in skiing? Niklas, the 14-year-old outsider who is seen eating in almost every scene (why?)? Jens, who desperately tries to make friends with the kids? Birgit, the well-tempered sarcastic mother with her terribly ugly pair of glasses? Or any of the others? My favourite character was screeenwriter Daniel Nocke who wrote a hilarious role for himself: Wolfgang, the "leader`, who keeps destroying the good mood by organizing the group's collective behavior.

The movie doesn't really lead you anywhere but it is highly intelligent, funny and an absolute pleasure to watch.

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