|Index||7 reviews in total|
This movie is excellent. I was impressed for a few days after I watched this movie. The way the story is told is great, a lot of tension, very detailed, deep feelings like fear, doubt, hate. The actors are great. It is a lot of fun to watch them, especially because they don't talk a lot, it's just their faces and how they look. It is a very silent film, all sounds in the movie are used in a very sensitive way. We can feel the silence of the desert, the heat and the no way out feeling. The psycho-trip in the ghost city is just awesome. Great editing and camera-work. All shots seem to make sense. This film is really unusual, because it's just about three characters in the desert and it actually doesn't happen a lot, but it is very exciting.
Fata Morgana is the perfect movie for all folks that are looking for a different kind of story telling. According to me the director has the rare courage and the passionate talent to tell us something about relationships in an extraordinary way. The viewer becomes silent witness of what happens to a couple when they are thrown back completely on themselves, loosing their sense of orientation in every kind of way,struggling not only for pure survival but also for their belief system and their love. In order to enjoy this movie you have to dive into the desert with the protagonists. The viewer himself has to have the courage to let go and follow the way the director is leading us- it's an exciting journey and yet exhausting. It's what I call a very special piece of artistic and psychological work of one of the upcoming new German directors. Just run and see it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fata Morgana, that phenomenon that occurs especially in the deserts of
the world is at the center of this German film that arrived via a local
cable channel. Not having a clue about it, we decided to take a chance
and frankly, we were surprised by the work of its director, Simon
Gross, a talented man who also contributed to the screenplay.
The setting is Morocco, where Daniel and Laura, German tourists are seen taking the sights. They decide to rent a jeep to go into the majestic desert. At a gas station they meet the mysterious man who will play a key figure in what ensues. The happy trip becomes something of a nightmare because Daniel and Laura are not prepared for what this stranger has in store for them.
The most vivid sequence has to be when Laura and Daniel reach the castle they see from a distance. Is it a mirage? Is it real? Well, nothing prepares us for the surprising outcome of the story. More intriguing is the ending in which both tourists return to the desert after having finally discovered the way to a nearby town.
The menacing stranger is played with equal parts of sadism and mystery by Jean-Hughes Anglade, a French actor that has made a career portraying such creeps. The beautiful Marie Zielke is seen as Laura, and Matthias Scheighofer is the weakest of the trio with his take on Daniel.
The vibrant cinematography of Peter Steuger captures in vivid detail the adventure that director Gross had in store for us. The desert has been lovingly photographed as never before. Although ultimately the film doesn't quite make it, we realize we are dealing with a filmmaker that will no doubt go far in his next films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The plot of "Fata Morgana" is very simple and quite easy to go through
it: A young couple lost in the desert is helped by a strange and
mysterious man. What is not that simple is to understand some of its
profundities or to understand what really moves the characters of this
German couple Daniel and Laura (played by Matthias Schweighöfer and Marie Zielcke respectively) entered in a jeep and went to the desert (it's not said where but somewhere in Africa I think) live a little adventure. They got lost, the car stopped working, and they walk into the desert trying to find the road where they followed earlier. But a stranger (Jean-Hughes Anglade) appears and helps him with the car and taking them to the road.
What makes this stranger character so peculiar is that he almost doesn't speak to the couple; he can't seem to answer any direct question is asked to him; not even his own name is presented in the film and the irony is that he's credited as "The Friend" but to quote his own words "I don't have any friends". He doesn't even try to become friend of the couple. When Daniel wants to film a simple recordation of his own time in the desert and he turns the camera at him he only replies that he doesn't want to be filmed and that's it. His intentions doesn't seem to be right thinks Daniel; Laura thinks that this strange man might help them as long as they help him too. Even without knowing this guy very well the couple follow him (he has a motorcycle and the couple go with the car) but every moment and every minute something might happen and they don't know what. But one thing is certain: this haunting man are not leading them back to the road.
This is a very good road movie with a lot of anticipated tension, simple dialogs and a great dreadful and suffocating scenery. But here comes some things that might disappoint. It's not a menacing movie like "Dead Calm" where you know that the third person is going to do something terrible each second goes by. It doesn't give answers to the audience of who the stranger is and his motivations and ambitions. He just happens to be there. Doubt is the engine of the movie so if you don't like this kind of perspective in films don't watch it.
Another doubtful thing was the title and perhaps it might have something to do with Jean-Hughes Anglade's character at the end of the movie (for those who doesn't know Fata Morgana is a mirage).
The trio of actors are very great, most particular the male actors (I didn't liked the character and the performance of the female actress).
Giving 8 stars out of 10 because of the lack of answers (ok the director and the writer wanted to instigate its audience and sometimes that works very well) and because it's a movie that's almost like a mirage itself (Ironic!): when you watch it for the first time it's interesting, beautiful but when you give a real look to it or watch several times the good thing disappears or it becomes less interesting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maybe I'm wrong to write about a movie I walked out of after 25
incredible long minutes (maybe all the interesting stuff happens after
the first half hour?) but I just couldn't take it anymore!
(Some spoilers ahead) Was I supposed to feel anything more than genuine annoyance and dread for those stupid kids who drive into the desert without any good reason? "Hey let's get of the road and try to get lost, that sounds like a good Idea!" Until they get lost, I was just annoyed with the Kids and slightly amused about "The Stranger" who looked just like Peter Maffay. But after they started walking there doesn't really happen anything. I was so bored that I rather walked home from the cinema, through the rain, than having to watch this till the end. Don't get me wrong, I can absolutely enjoy slow or even art movies. But there was nothing I could cling to here. The actors didn't convince me for a second, the soundtrack was way boring and cliché and even the picture quality was rubbish (really grainy) - all that combined with a wannabe-artistic direction (some real dramatic cuts of... nothing happening) and a non-existing story was just to much. Please give me back my 4!
PS: The _ONLY_ nice thing was some nipple after 10 minutes. And even that was below average.
This isn't the first time and it won't be the last that I pick a movie for its pretty lead, so why not get used to it? Having said that, with Marie Zielcke, it isn't at all easy to say whether she is a talented actress or just a pretty face with an attitude. Is she like Milla Jovovich, who isn't just devastatingly beautiful, but also a natural performer, a fashion designer, an accomplished singer, and a gifted songwriter? Or is she more like Keira Knightley, noticed because of her good looks, famous for being famous, but not really good at anything? I'm partial. I like her. Ever since her big-screen debut in Oscar Roehler's "Silvester Countdown", she's been on my "must see" list. Mind you, "Fata Morgana" itself won't make the list. A twenty-something big-city couple vacations in the desert and is taken for a ride by a mysterious stranger. Under the sand, they find jealousy and fear. "29 Palms" meets "And Now... Ladies and Gentlemen", minus the sex and the music. Some panoramic sandscapes though.
Well, what can I say about this excellent piece of artwork without
being spoilish? First of all: I am very happy to have picked 'Fata
Morgana' of all movies from the Munich Film Festival 2007. It simply
was a mind mind-blowing movie experience yet totally unexpected. And as
I still find myself reflecting on what happened in that movie almost
two weeks later I might as well drop a line here. But back-to-back:
'Fata Morgana' is pure purism. The story is simple, straightforward and as a result of that particularly striking. The parts there are only three of them are extremely well cast. One might even say Matthias Schweighofer as well as Jean-Hugues Anglade played the roles of their lives, so far. And Marie Zielke also did a great job. The pictures are stunning and at no time over-scripted. In fact I have never been that impressed by any desert movie or documentary before. The music is on the one hand inconspicuous throughout the entire movie while as on the other hand it's the perfect match for every picture, every detail, every sentiment. (Besides: Not included is the music during the final credits. That was awful.) Finally the dramaturgy: The movie has got an absorbing very unique speed. It builds up slowly but while you are still wondering whether and when the thrill will start, you are already deep down into it.
In brief: Simon Gross reduced everything to a max. There is nothing in that movie that does not belong there. And even after days and weeks the movie still keeps its impact and secrecy. What more could you expect?
Well done, Simon Gross.
And just to increase the pressure a little: I am anxious to see your next movie.
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