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Margarethe von Trotta
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The challenge of any film based on a book is, not to get entangled with the text, but to translate words into pictures. I think Martin Gypkens succeeded exceptionally well in Nichts als Gespenster. You still have plenty of words, but they tell you one thing, while the pictures tell you something else: the attempt of the protagonists to connect their lives in true love or friendship, and their incapacity to succeed. They want to be true friends and lovers, and from the start, they make allowance for pretense and cheating. They come close, they separate, they try again will they ever unite? The last sequence of the film tells you what will most probably happen in the end: the camera lets the car with the Ellen and Felix in it, move away into the distance, catches up again with the car, to eventually let it go for good.
The challenge of the film is to intertwine five separate stories each one in a different country: a road movie multiplied by 5! The cutting is quick. I had to see the film twice to really appreciate it. My recommendation: while watching the movie, don't focus on the stories, instead, focus on the feelings which happen inside the protagonists.
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