A painter from the big city goes to a remote canyon to commit suicide. To reach some calmness, he stays at the farmstead of Ascen, an old, religious woman. Although but a few words are spoken, love grows.
A surreal, isolated village sees its inhabitants gradually leave behind their mutual traditions and superstitions as they leave for the city. Among them are two cousins who love each other and who get into a quarrel with other villagers.
The IMDb classifies the genre of the film as Drama/Musical, but "Pretentious Nonsense" is probably a more accurate characterization, even if this is a little unkind. The film is certainly pretty to look at; each scene is (visually) as carefully composed as an oil painting, and the slow pace combines these images to an overall impression that is not unlike visiting an art gallery, i.e. moving from picture to picture, pondering over each for a while.
The classical music accompanies this well and enhances that emotion, and the characters' movement have a certain balletic quality that fits to the mood.
However, that alone does not make a movie. There is barely a story extractable from the proceedings, and the personal relationships between the characters do not ring true, not physically, not emotionally; they are just weird. Ballet has similar difficulties when it tries to tell its audience a story, but there is little justification for maintaining this difficulty at the cinema, just for the heck of it.
The film is certainly watchable, like a piece of art, and is in this sense a vast improvement over Schroeter's dreadful "Das Liebeskonzil", but it does not engage the audience. In other words: for toffee-nosed elitists only.
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