A small port at the turn of last century, embedded in a romantic river landscape with dense woods and a large castle ruin on a hill. Laurin, a pretty girl aged nine, lives together with her... See full summary »
A small port at the turn of last century, embedded in a romantic river landscape with dense woods and a large castle ruin on a hill. Laurin, a pretty girl aged nine, lives together with her young mother Flora, her father Arne and her somewhat peculiar grandmother, Olga, in a remote, ivy-clad cottage in the middle of the forest. Laurin's father is a sailor and he often has to leave his family back for more than a couple of months. One evening Flora takes her husband for the long way down to the harbour. On her way back through night and storm she dies under mysterious circumstances, crashing through the rotten railing of a long, wooden bridge and drowning in the icy water of the river. Flora's death appears like a horrible accident, yet her little daughter feels that something evil is concealed in the village community. Two years later, Laurin's father has gone off to sea again and the girl stays alone with her grandmother. It is now, that Van Rees, the parson's son, returns from the ... Written by
Beautiful scenery, a haunting atmosphere and a gripping story.
When I first saw this film in 1989, the director had just won the Bavarian Film Prize as "Best Rookie Director." However, I didn't know what to expect. I had been familiar with other modern German movies and was prepared to be disappointed. Just the opposite turned out to be true. The film had a dreamlike quality with beautiful photography, a haunting atmosphere and a gripping story. The music fit the film perfectly and I couldn't believe that the movie had been made by a first-time director. The story was not presented chronologically or sequentially, but was punctuated with flashbacks and "flashforwards," making it seem like a puzzle to be solved, as much as a story to be told. Although it had elements of a fairy tale, the sinister and symbolic elements conspired to make it seem more like a Gothic novel. It was an interesting combination of mystery, suspense, and psychological study, with historic elements thrown in. I came out of the theater knowing that there was hope for the modern German film. In recent years, I have seen the film again a number of times. Each time I see it, I seem to understand more and to find things that I hadn't previously noticed. Although some would put the film into the "horror" or "suspense" category, it is a world apart from a monster or slasher movie, although it has tinges of both. I heartily recommend the film to anyone who enjoys suspense. You will be sitting on the edge of your seat, especially during the final scene, and you will be thinking about the film for days to come.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?