In the Alpine village of Tolzbad in the 1800s, the townsfolk talk quietly and restrain their movements lest they incur avalanches. This atmosphere lends itself to repressed emotions - shown... See full summary »
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In the Alpine village of Tolzbad in the 1800s, the townsfolk talk quietly and restrain their movements lest they incur avalanches. This atmosphere lends itself to repressed emotions - shown through the parallel stories of butler student Johann lusting after his mother (an old flame of the mysterious Count Knotkers) and Klara's attraction to her father (who lusts after his other daughter), leading to duels and suicidal plunges galore. All this is shot in the style of an early German sonal film, complete with intertitles, crackly sound-track and 'hand-tinted' colour effects. Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Influenced by the German Expressionist films of the 1920s and filtered through the oddball sensibilities of writer/director Guy Maddin, Careful is a film like no other. Maddin appropriates silent cinema's monochrome aesthetic in multiple scenes but even when color is being used in a more traditional way he tends to fill the screen with garish brightness. The film has (melo)dramatic elements but is primarily comedic, albeit with a wink and a nudge subtlety almost altogether absent from silent film's heyday.
The bizarre plot of the film is centered on a repressed mountain community, particularly the brothers Johan and Grigors and their mother. The boys' father, who lost both his eyes in separate freak accidents, is long since dead and their older brother is locked in the attic where he silently watches. Johan and his younger brother spend most of their time in a strict school for butlers where they learn about dining etiquette and grooming. Johan becomes engaged to Klara, a local girl who lusts after her own father in spite of his clear favoritism toward his younger daughter, in spite of his own obsessive lust directed at his mother. Naturally, characters become involved in murder plots, duels, and suicide as they're too repressed and shut off to resolve their problems in a less dramatic fashion.
Thematically, Careful is too jumbled to have much coherence but like most Maddin films this is more about style than plot or meaning. Maddin's creative visual style is engaging enough on its own to make Careful a worthwhile film.
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