Archiv der Kategorie: Steven Soderbergh

Berlinale 2018: Day 7

By Sascha Krieger

Mein Bruder heißt Robert und ist ein Idiot  (Competition / Germany, France, Switzerland / Director: Philip Gröning)

Elena and Robert are twins. Elena is about to graduate, Robert had to repeat a year. Together they spend a sun-soaked weekend around a rural petrol station learning fer Elena’s philosophy exam.  Truth and time are at the centre of their conversations. Mostly Robert speaks, reading and paraphrasing from St. Augustine and Heidegger. Thinking is waiting, time is hope. The hope wanes as the film progresses. An infinite three hours later, blood floods the petrol stations floor, a body sits on the toilet and Elena has her exam. In-between? Endless talking in a melancholy drone, close-ups of body parts, water surfaces, insects, shots from above. Every now and then the footage turns grainy, like a half-preserved memory. Waiting for life to begin. Distance and closeness, action and inaction. Time is non-linear, circular, coming to a pause. Or at least, thats what it says. In reality, it does move on, slowly, unbearably so. Elena and Robert follow their rituals, live their symbiotic relationship. even a daring bet – about her getting laid before her exam – doesn’t seem to change much. They engage in banter with the station clerks and play around with a child. Not much happens though everything is supposed to change. They throw fits, reconcile. Out of nowhere an escalation. Unexplained, with not much of an effect, it seems. Philip Gröning’s film is trying to be an elegy, two people, almost one, at the edge of becoming separate entities forever. The camera ebbs and flows gently, the narrative hangs in the balance between episodic fragments and rivers of time. Time stands still, even when it hits hard. After all, the present doesn’t exist. According to Robert. But what does? Them? Julia Zange and Josef Mattes are at times captivating as this couple that tries to assert their own identities but cannot escape their collective one yet. They cannot save the film which meanders rather aimlessly for two hours before losing grip entirely in its final third. A meditation about time and growing up? No, just a collection of admittedly rather pretty pictures.

201810231_1

Mein Bruder heißt Robert und ist ein Idiot (Image: © 2017 Philip Gröning)

Weiterlesen

Werbeanzeigen

Berlinale 2013: Diary Day 6

By Sascha Krieger

Pardé (Competition / Iran / Directors: Jafar Panahi, Kamboziya Partovi)

This is a film that shouldn’t exist. Two years ago,  Jafar Panahi, who won a Silver Bear in 2006 for Offside and a Golden Lion in Venice for The Circle, was barred from making films for twenty years by an Iranian court. The fact that Pardé was made and is now premiering at the Berlinale is a little miracle of perseverance. It opens with a long single shot: We look through bars (an iron shutter) towards the sea. In the distance a car stops, a man get out and slowly walks towards where we are looking from. A simple, powerful image, a metaphor on today’s Iran which we encounter as a closed, claustrophobic society in which paranoia is a means to survival. Once inside the man shuts all curtains and hangs up heavy black drapes. No light is to get in and, more importantly, out. The man is clearly on the run. His crime: he owns a dog, an unclean animal by Islamic standards. Later he will be joined by a young woman who had celebrated with friends on the beach for which the police hunts her. fear, distrust, the urge to be alone dominate their dealings with each other. Both seem on the same side but how can one be sure. Panahi and his co-director Kamboziya Partovi concentrate this interior play into a dense parable of people in a stifling world. The girl urges the man to get out, rips down the  curtains, there is no way one can forever be imprisoned. Then the film changes, suddenly Panahi himself appears, first as a ghost almost, the taking control. The man and the woman, we understand, are characters in a film Panahi cannot make. They crave for his attention, they want to stay alive, they want him to give them a voice. A complex game ensues that is political, philosophical, human. For in all this repressive atmosphere, the desire for life, freedom, expression never dies. Panahi and Pardovi show this in long, factual, decidedly non-poetical images which is precisely why the space of the imagination is so large in this film. Somethings are heard but not seen, at times all goes black, yet light always returns. In the end we return to the opening shot. But now there are people, a kite, a dog running free. „You’ll work again“, an old neighbor tells Panahi at one point. Pardé is a moving, deeply human, poetic masterpiece which stubbornly defends its belief in the power of the human will.

Weiterlesen

Film review: Contagion (Director: Steven Soderbergh)

It begins with hands. A ballet of hands touching glasses, cups, other hands, faces, holding bars in trains, cell phones. Quickly edited, in increasing frenzy, thoughtless everyday touches, but soon to be a ballet of death. Two to three thousand times a day, we touch our face, Kate Winslet’s character will say later. Two to three thousand chances to get infected. The fatal chain of events that director Steven Soderbergh start his film with serves as a miniature version of what is to come. Carefully researched, Contagion is neither more nor less than a compelling, frightening study of how an epidemic can spread, rapidly, unstoppable. A chillingly realistic account of what, in the wake of SARS or bird flu, we would like to think of as purely media hypes.

Weiterlesen

Werbeanzeigen