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|Index||15 reviews in total|
This movie knits a web of stories that revolve around the loveless wedding
of a girl, concerning her mother and father, her sisters, her former
boyfriend, the wedding party caterer, a girl accidentally met in a rainy
evening, and the people these people meet: a Spanish man who brings the
ashes of his dead German wife to Germany, to bring her to the rain and green
grass she missed; an extravagant girl who seeks the attention of strangers
by pretending she is handicapped or ill; the father's mistress who slashes
her wrists in a clandestine visit to her lover's house; an abandoned old
woman found by the younger sister in the airport.
The stories, located half in Germany and half in Spain, can be intensely poetic, or intensely brutal, or funny, or poignant, and make up an absorbing whole. All of them have to do with love, love being found, lost or hankered after. By the end of the movie the stories have not been brought to any closure; like in life, there are no neat endings.
I've just seen "Bin ich schön?" today and I totally disagree with the other critic. I think this film is BEAUTIFUL (That's the better word to describe it) because it's made of small things and tries not to give a lesson or just entertain you for two hours, you will leave the cinema with your heart touched... No one had showed me Spain, the way Doris Dörrie did... Plain, simple and yet astonishing... Perhaps I understood her because I come from a country that lives of small rituals like Spain does. The music is also fantastic, like in every Dörrie film.
This movie deserves a better review than the previous one by Melendez from Brazil. It is true that the plot is complex and not easy to follow, but if you are looking for easy entertainment, this is not for you. There are some very mature sub-plots that will leave some viewers behind, empty, and in the dust. (If you care to look at the votes on this, the demographic breakdown is proof of this; the older the viewers, the higher the rating!) It takes a superb attention span and recall to get to the end of this film in one piece and then you might wonder where you started; but it is worth it. This movie is like a fascinating painting that you can't forget even tho it has some drips,runs,and smudges in it.
Now that is a film that tries to show the modern world of relationships and how many people just do not get what they want, due to mean folks around, lack of communication and trust or just unfitting circumstances. Depressing autumn movie, but with a glimpse of hope and great music of mostly Spanish origin.
I think this is quite a nice movie. In a scene that is somewhere halfway (actually I bet it's precisely halfway) you get the clue you need: there's no beginning and no end in this movie, so don't bother yourself looking for it. Once this is taken for granted, you see some quite excellent scenes, in which you are in the thick of things of the life of some (more of less) loose connected people. There is humour, affection, love, lust and sadness, and most of the players are very convincing. The only character that could be missed in my opinion was Linda, played by Franka Potente: she is playing exactly the same character as she was in 'Lola rennt' (without the running). Just an irritatingly weird girl, with no real or convincing acts and emotions, except her singing her own flamenco song. If Franka Potente can't play a character unlike Lola, I'm sorry to say I've seen enough of her by now.
"Life according to Doris" might be an adequate alternative title to this film. Instead of telling a linear story with a showdown, Dörrie spotlights moments in people's life that tell everything about their past, their present and the world that surrounds them. The way she does it puts her in one line with Jim Jarmusch. As in most of her other films, it is what the characters say and do more than how it is filmed what makes the film. "Bin ich schön?" is the closest any of Dörries's films comes to her remarkable short stories.
Dorrie seems to have mellowed since Men and Nobody Loves Me,
both of which were fresh and delightfully uncharted-water,
passionately warm takes on one of her overriding concerns and
themes, an exploration and advocacy of an existentialist
philosophy of life. This time out, perhaps just for being another
decade out post-existentialism, her labyrinth of expatriate German
adventurers in exotic Spain ultimately feels oddly somewhat less
fresh or less fully emotionally engaging but nevertheless is a solid
and intellectually engaging new set of contexts and characters
through which to examine more turns of the die.
A child's-captivated-ear indoctrination into the myths which so
easily lead us astray (into false hope, then deception, then
dried-up going-through-the-motions stub-toed, danceless mere
existence) frames what is broader in scope in this film compared
to the previous two: there is no age or gender delimitation of focus
here as we see random-encounterers young and old, female and
male, show their vulnerability to idealized visions which leave them
floundering. Through one particular children's tale which begins
and ends the film, Dorrie implicitly observes that it is in the stories
we are told that our false expectations of life take root, here a tale
about a tiger and a bear who conjure up a ballyhooed idyllic land to
set their sails for-a banana-growing nirvana named Panama.
We adults know, wink-wink, the folly of the tiger and bear, but we
love such stories and we crave expectation-building stories like an
addiction, she seems to say...and thereby in childhood learning
sets the stage for evaluating the ensuing adult ventures toward
their own mirage-like horizons. So feed us stories, Doris: ...about
a lost lover--or two, a lost wife or two (one mortally, another
spiritually), a lost identity or two (one intentionally, another
accidentally), a lost fantasy or two... or a dozen.
The title would have us ask to what extent these losses of illusion,
of dreamed-of perfection, impact our ability to see and feel true
untrammeled pleasure in both ourselves (am I beautiful?) and in
others (can I delight in making another happy? to realize and throw
off the layers of claptrap that keep me/us from casting onerous
cognition to the wind and instead to indulge the heart and the
moment--from literally throwing one's possessions out the
window to indulging what might have been an offputting fetishist's
fantasies to singing out to engage the spirit of a foreign exotic
spiritual procession and be willing to acknowledge in song one's
fears and quests).
It's not a new theme but it's reworking works, albeit keeping us a
bit at arm's length from the subjects, perhaps (wittingly?) to mirror
the arm's length from the fullness of engagement in life that is the
nature of existence for her characters until varying quiet
epiphanies open their paths to new alternative ways of perceiving.
(In some ways, this medium-is-the-message reflection on the
chagrins of a life lived at arm's length parallels that of the more
recent French film Under the Sand.)
As the path taken by Linda (Franka Potente)--one of the younger
and central questers--displays, the search for the keys to
existential truth, to 'be here now', can too easily alight on answers
>that look programmable and can lead to 'false gods' along the
path, most unacceptably that of inauthenticity. Just as Linda
learns that she can derail herself entirely if she is not honest or
tries to manipulate (trying to control others or their feelings with her
bag of tricks whilst living in disguise from and thus not owning
herself), so others learn how easy it is to kid themselves into
thinking they've found the elusive 'peace' or 'simplicity' which they
perceive in an ostensibly uncomplicated lover who then proves
suicidal, or other escapist plan which goes awry. Almost nothing
is what it, he, or she seems-until they learn to be vulnerable,
self-accepting, sentient and thereby empowered. There lurks
complexity and pain, just more buried in some than in others.
There is no carefree Panama banana republic, but there is
pleasure in honesty of spirit.
And the voices of this realization come in some curious packages
(further fleshing out the wisdom-where-you-least-expect-it notion
whose fascinating messenger in Nobody Loves Me was the voice
of a marginalized, lovelorn but lovingly unselfish transvestite):
here an overweight chef who is blissfully married to his young-love
sweetheart with a passion for her soul that knows no parameters
or criteria but is unabashedly unconditional, a Spaniard who
refuses to indulge his German girlfriend's need to hear spurious
pledges of eternal love, the errant husband/father who seizes the
moment to respectfully respond to Linda until her deception forces
him to draw his line in the sand and thus startles her back to
self-acceptance, another errant husband/father whose Caribbean
indulgences have actualized his spirit of "to dance is to live" and
who finally lures down the encrusted wall behind which his wife
has been taking sullen refuge. Here it is most often the women
who have internalized the childhood idyllic stories to their peril,
having sold themselves a flurry of fantasies that focus on the future
or the past, who with well-meaning enchantment see heaven in a
red cashmere sweater they sell or buy, a stereotypically fanciful
wedding gown, a notion of storybook romance, and who--with
considerable blindness--stumble in seeking their way back to
themselves. But they do listen, and learn.
Great director, great story, great movie, great actors and actresses
(Potente, Dobra, Petri, Berger, Makatsch, Wink).
I wait for video!!
P.S. Great music also. CD is a must!!
Once more Doris Dörrie makes us dive into the deep absurdity of life in general and love affairs more specifically. Through precise observation and careful staging she displays the weakness and the strength of the characters. Two examples: One of the most powerful scenes is when Linda (Franka Potente - Germany's latest shooting starlet) prosternates herself in front of the Holy Virgin during the Semana Santa in Seville and prays for strength and courage. When the unfaithful husband is about to be discovered and drops to his knees asking his daughter for help is another scene that made me both laugh and weep. "Bin ich schön" is one of the best satires on society I have ever seen and Doris Dörrie may well be seen as the European counterpart to Woody Allen.
If you want an action movie, don't watch it. But if you aren't afraid of long dialogues and if you want to see a calm, based on short-stories (like "Shortcuts") and cultural movie, and if you're interested in observing peoples when they try to handle their little problems, watch it.
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