Thursday, May 22, 2008


This quite strange movie by Christian Petzold has a clean and clear look within a very dark situation that you will never see in the screen but will feel at all times. You may suspect there is something else, you see all the elusive relations to water, the sound and Yella losing her blank face with a pain alike grimace… and if when you see this movie you feel like what I been describing you will be absolute right, as this movie is about two or three dark things.

First it is important that you’re familiar with Germany geography as Yella lives in East Germany, finds a job in West Germany and when she tries to cross the old border, the Elbe, something happens that probably has happened to many Germans nowadays when there is only one Germany. This is related to the quest of having more than whatever you have now, to succeed, looking forward to go on with your life while trying to forget your past, and moving like a senseless robot in this nowadays senseless way of life doing whatever you have to do, no mater what. Touching as even if here is Germany, in reality it applies almost everywhere.

Second dissects the western way of doing business in a very straightforward way that truly impacts, especially if you are or were involved in any job related to business transactions. Brilliantly disgusting!

Then there is a lot of fantasy in the all so real world you see in the screen, but with the somehow expected end (I figure it out earlier in the movie, but then I have seen Gespenster the second installment of this trilogy) everything comes into place as a total irony according to me.

The movie is impeccable, with a nice pace, good cinematography that emphasizes the clean and empty outdoors plus the incredibly good performance by Nina Hoss that plays Yella and is almost in every single scene of the movie wearing a red blouse that totally contrasts with the bland surroundings creating a hypnotic effect. Amazing!

The movie was in competition at the 2007 Berlinale where Nina Hoss won the Silver Bear for Best Actress, the movie and Nina as well as Hans Fromm the cinematographer had other wins and nominations in other German fests and awards. If you browse the blog you will find more info including a post with the synopsis as I have been waiting to see this movie for more than a year and it was worth the wait.

I believe that this is a very intellectual exercise that some critics comment is not entertaining; well, it may not be the usual entertainment but definitively it did entertain me for quite a while and left me thinking a lot about many things. Still I understand that this movie is not for all audiences, you have to like art cinema with what seems like banal situations running in the screen and be able to read between the lines, otherwise you will be bore to death by this movie as many that have seen it say.

But if you want to spend about an hour and a half with a strange and interesting proposition about life, then this movie is for you.


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