Archiv der Kategorie: André Téchiné

Berlinale 2019: Day 6

By Sascha Krieger

Ich war zuhause, aber (Competition / Germany, Serbia / Director: Angela Schanelec)

What an opening: a dog chases a rabbit across a meadow. Casually. Later it eats the rabbit inside, a donkey walks in and looks out of the window. A dream? A vision? A nightmare. Nightmarish is the world in Angela Schanelec’s radical new film. A family coping with the loss of the father as we later find out. A mother, a run-away son, a daughter. everyone is as if sleepwalking. Images antiseptic and rigid, movements painfully slow, shots unbearably long. Every word – and they come in pretty late in the film – seems fought for. A class is playing scenes from Hamlet, motionless, emotionless. A boy wearing a prince’s crown, seeks a home in supermarket depot, a couple debates about the meaning of love and life and children. Sleepwalkers all, zombies. Ich war zuhause, aber is relentless in its formal rigidness. When the mother (Maren Eggert) freaks out at her kids, breaks the pauses and monotony for a moment, it’s almost a relief. It’s a film like a trauma, a collective one or are we on the inside of the woman who once argues with a film director about truth and lies? Good, bad, true, false, words whose meaning eludes these sleepwalkers. But still they chase them, want to grasp them, each other, themselves. This world is in shock, suspended between life and death, removed from the natural cycle, in shock, in grief, at a standstill. The donkey can look out into the world, they can’t. At the end, a slow walk in a river, the boy carrying his sister. Where? No-one knows. But the idea that there might be a where for them, that the rest is not all silence as Hamlet claims, that there might be an order to all those loose ends, perhaps suggests something like, well, hope?

Ich war zuhause, aber (Image: © Nachmittagfilm)

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Berlinale 2016: Day 4

By Sascha Krieger

24 Wochen  (Competition / Germany / Director: Anne Zohra Berrached)

Astrid is a successful comedian who is expecting her second child from her long-time boyfriend and manager when the news hit: her child will have Down’s Syndrome. Even worse: later it is discovered that the boy will also have a serious heart condition. The film follows their emotional journey as they make decisions, make them again and question them. The film stays excruciatingly close to the characters, the handheld camera focusing on close-ups and extreme close-ups. Julia Jentsch and Bjarne Mädel play the couple and they carry this film in an entirely unspectacular way. At times, 24 Wochen feels almost like a documentary, due to the immediacy of images and acting but also to the presence of real doctors and councillors. True, the film has its flaws. It occasionally goes for the predictable, score and sound are somewhat heavy-handed, highlighting a drama that needs no highlighting. Slow-motion swimming pool shots and extreme close-ups of babies in the womb could also be dispensed with. The film doesn’t need any of this. The quiet struggle to come to terms with what is happening, the slowly opening gap in opinions among the couple, their stubbornness and self-doubt are enough. Most of the time (the rather unsatisfactory final scene notwithstanding), 24 Hours is an at times almost unbearingly intense study in people making a decision about life and death – undiluted, immediate, unfiltered. A harrowing, deeply moving and brutally honest film.

24 Wochen (© Friede Clausz)

24 Wochen (© Friede Clausz)

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