By Sascha Krieger
Nadie quiere la noche (Competition / Spain, France, Bulgaria / Director: Isabel Coixet)
Nadie quiere la niche, the opening film of the 2015 Berlinale, tells the – partly fictional – story of Josephine Peary, wife of Robert Peary, long believed to be the first to reach the North Pole, who follows her husband before being stuck in the Polar winter with a young Inuit woman with whom she shares more than she thinks. Isabel Coixet fully embraces the opportunity to turn the still widely untouched – though far from unaffected by humans – everlasting snow and ice into entrancing images, at the same time beautiful and frightening. Coixet creates some powerful tableaus of the tiny, powerless creature that we are in the midst of nothingness, or everything. The film is at its strongest when the elements hit with full force and Peary and her companion are reduced to the core of their existence and their primal fears. For most of it, however, the film is a rather bland and unsubtle tale of a clash of culture in which, as usual, the pure child of nature teaches the arrogant product of civilization about life and nature. The melodramatic score, the somewhat forced unstable hand-held camera and the pseudo-philosophic off commentary are equally intrusive and turn this tale of human perseverance into a rather pedestrian and largely forgettable effort. Juliette Binoche’s stellar performance, however, will be remembered.