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Isild Le Besco,
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A moving love story in a time of hatred: During the civil war in Kosovo, the young Serbian widow Danica falls in love with Ramiz, a Albanian soldier who, wounded in battle, seeks refuge in her home on the Serbian side of the River Ibar.
Baity showpiece for Gedeck, but beyond that a decent film
I am actually a bit surprised that this 4-year-old movie is not more popular. The topic seems to be one for the broad masses and it has one of Germany's biggest movie stars in a lead role. Yet, it very much went under the radar. Martina Gedeck reunites here with Thomas Thieme from "Das Leben der Anderen". Hanns Zischler is also in this film, the rest of the cast is not too known. However, none of them are really bad. The two child actors do a good job, especially Lingemann, who won a truly prestigious award for her performance here. The film runs for roughly two hours and is the first full feature movie directed and written by Lars Unger, a good effort for being relatively new in the industry. Sadly, he has not made another movie in the last four years and there are no news on IMDb about upcoming projects.
Actually, the girl was possibly the most interesting aspect about the movie. The boy was okay too, but when they included that whole storyline that the mother of the abducted boy is also the mother of the kidnapper, it got a bit weaker. I'd have preferred him to be a stone-cold psychopath, even if he was just a little boy. Occasionally this film reminded me of the far more popular "Funny Games" by Michael Haneke, only with younger criminals. Back to the girl, her final shot in this movie was pretty special. But there were some struggles as well. Looking at how she is in that spectacular roller-coaster, yet feels nothing makes me think that she is looking for thrills and the same idea comes when she is together with Leon as she is attracted by the danger that the kidnapping brings. But at the same time, she is looking for harmony, for a family that she does not have as her father is dead and her mother doesn't care about her. So, what is it she really wants? Speaking about Martina Gedeck's character, I was not too fond of her this time. The lighter scene was supposed to give us a deeper insight into her character, but it just isn't working. Same goes for the final shot of her giving Leon a hug in the face of the dead girl's body. This was really only because she was the star and so she had to be in an impactful last scene, I guess.
I enjoyed watching these 120 minutes. They were by no means perfect (wow did the police mess up in this one so many times), but there were hardly no moments when it dragged and that is always an achievement for a film that runs for so long. It's good that this movie got released, even if it was delayed. Recommended.
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