This is an odd German tragic comedy that screened at the Goethe House in Hanoi, Vietnam recently. Hauntingly photographed in beautiful B & W, it is the tale of a rural village in East Germany where it seems everyone wants to leave, most of all the wannabe-James-Dean male lead, Bruno (wonderful performance by Lars Rudolph). However, one hapless local entrepreneur has high-hopes for the future; but then his wife falls for Bruno which sets off a battle between romance, marketing, and responsibility.
Though uneven at the start, the film develops an increasingly intense and desolate atmosphere, almost like in a play by Beckett. The direction is often reminiscent of Fassbinder - not realistic but truthful, distilling the essence of situations in a truly creative manner. Sometimes the scenes slip into the grotesque, but this is after all a comedy.
I truly enjoyed this film. Anyone who knows the situation and history of East Germany today will also be pleased to discover that here is a film which deals with the political fallout of 1989 in a comical fashion, long before a film like "Goodbye Lenin" saw the light of day. It is also a sarcastic blast at the German national character, which as Fassbinder also showed, is not known for its warm-hearted friendliness. NOT A LOVE SONG - highly recommended!
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