Dito Tsintsadze's drama focuses on a loner whose life changes dramatically, when he gets to know a beautiful, but strange girl. Lukas, a young man doing "meals on wheels" instead of ... See full summary »
Dito Tsintsadze's drama focuses on a loner whose life changes dramatically, when he gets to know a beautiful, but strange girl. Lukas, a young man doing "meals on wheels" instead of military service, doesn't have many friends and leads a boring life, until he meets Isabella. The fascinating girl soon becomes his best friend, but Lukas learns she has a sexual relationship to her stepfather. Thus, he is obsessed with the idea of delivering Isabella by killing the man... Written by
I've seen this surreal mixture of comedy and drama twice now, once at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2004 and recently on television and liked it even better the second time I saw it.
Lukas (Fabian Hinrichs) is a quiet loner who refused to join the army because of his pacifist beliefs, and is employed in the Civil Service instead, delivering meals to the elderly in some anonymous former East-German town (the film was shot in Halle). One day he encounters the mysterious Isabella in a local tram, where she leaves him a note saying "Help me!". After this encounter they develop a platonic and somewhat awkward relationship, making Lukas feel even more estranged than before. Lukas spends many of his nights rowing at the local river and one night he kills a man by accident and decides not to report it. But soon a local police officer/detective questions him because he was the only person present at the river when the body was found.
The film is not just a dark comedy and has some strong and violent scenes in it, but the tone remains light. I think the murder mystery is one of those crucial plot elements that keeps the story going. The police inspector Beckmann (great role by Rudolf W. Marnitz) - a very "German Krimi" kind of name - bares some resemblance to Peter Falk in Columbo. He is a bit shabby, he already knows all the angles from day one, is unmarried and always has a cold.
I just loved this odd little film, not because of the great story or ingenious plotting, but for all the colourfully sketched characters with some truly wonderful vignettes. There is a very old one-eyed former WW II sniper, to whom Lukas delivers his meals, and a Turkish arms dealer who keeps on telling Lukas how he learned German through citing the works of Goethe! Could be corny, but it works wonderfully, thanks to a great cast and Georgian-German director Dito Tsintsadse. A cast of unknowns, especially Lavinia Wilson, really carry this home. I found this a touch weird but nevertheless a very pleasant experience on both viewings.
Camera Obscura --- 9/10
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