Everything seems in deadlock, a perpetuate hell where nothing can happen
This is a film from the 70s, and from Eastern Europe and in a then very much en-vogue introspective realist style that I often have problems with. It seems that after the glorious 60s, the Svoiet block was all about quite despair, personal tragedies, and the intellectual's angst in the face of a failure to secure more freedom in those countries. The GDR was no different, and Addio, piccola mia belongs for me in that crowd of melancholy and somewhat depressing films, filmed on film-stock with desaturated colors, reminiscent of something like Ilya Averbakh's Monologue (1973), or all of Tarkovsky's 70s work. A bit experimental and a BIG part 'naturalist" this is a cinema of contemplation while trying to retain some of the playfulness and inventiveness that has come in the decade before. Hand-held camera is the style of choice, and actors muttering their lines, looking away from the camera, a highly stylized direct cinema touch, and professional actors being mixed with amateurs or purposefully being used like ones.
Addio piccola mia is certainly an interesting film, my first by Lothar Warneke, a story about the last three years of German icon Georg Büchner, a poet who died of typhus at the age of 23, and who is here used somewhat to reflect upon the times in the GDR in the late 70s. He is a revolutionary who wants to change society through an uprise of the masses, the poor peasants who are his only hope for a true revolution. Yet after the defeat of Napoleon in the early 19th century, Europe is in a situation of reconstruction and forced stability, with a lot of similarities to the cold war period. Everything seems in deadlock, a perpetuate hell where nothing can happen. At the end there is no prospect of freedom, none of hope, only death. A bleak way of looking at history, considering the fact that the GDR saw itself as a society that had brought about the long-sought freedom that had been denied to the people throughout the previous centuries, and all films in the GDR were funded and produced by the state and had to get its approval. It would be interesting to know, how the film was received in its day, especially in the GDR. Not a bad film, but this is only for people who don't mind having a meandering one hour plot stretched to two hours with a lot of self-doubt and anguish going on. Very much a film of its time.
Ah yes, saw it at the cinema, but bad projection (or whatever the cause) led to it being shown in the wrong aspect ratio, and the print was only in decent shape, so the 35mm experience was really nothing to write home about. Oh, and there are some stunning, floating, hand-held and vibrating, Malick-like close-up shots (using only natural light, of course) of the faces of two lovers that will make the heart of most cineastes beat faster.
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