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coverpic flag Mare Smythii - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 16 - 02/11/98

The 8th Tromsø
International Film Festival

January 21st - 25th 1998 (part II)

Here we go again! Step inside to the theatre darkness, to face the magic screen, for some more hypnotic motion fiction. Let the celluloid show and tell, to seduce you..

Winterschläfer (English title: Winter Sleeper)
(Germany 1997)
Directed by Tom Tykwer. Written by Tom Tykwer and Anne-Francoise Pyszora.
Starring: Ulrich Matthes, Marie-Lou Sellem, Floriane Daniel, Heino Ferch, Josef Bierbichler, plus others.

Magnificence! Pure magic! Winterschläfer is the most elegant movie I've seen for a while. A perfect combination of everything; pictures, movement, rhythm, composition, atmosphere, colours, music, acting, story, plot. Rene (Matthes), who works, as a projectionist, at the local cinema in a winterly village in the Alps has got a problem with his short-term memory. He therefore always brings his camera to document what he experience, and pastes the snapshots into his photo-diary; sort of a life-log of "yesterday", to keep control of what he's been through and to "fight" his amnesia. One day he causes a fatal traffic accident (after "stealing" a sports-car), which becomes a black hole in his memory. Two friends, Laura (Sellem) and Rebecca (Daniel) live together in a house in the mountains. Rebecca's got an affair with a slick ski-trainer, Marco (Ferch), a cheating playboy-type, and quite an opposite to the more silent Rene. Rene and Laura meets up, and they become a couple. And everything is sewn together in a fascinating web of incidents and mysticism. Director Tom Tykwer (known for Die Tödliche Maria, 1993) has really shown his "Fingerspitzgefühl". And, on the beautiful soundtrack we get presented the slow pearl Untitled # 1 by Spain. Twice! Go see!!

Gadjo Dilo
(France 1997)
Written and directed by Tony Gatlif.
Starring: Romain Duris, Izidor Serban, Rona Hartner, plus others.

Gadjo Dilo was the opening film of the festival, and won the Audience Award. No big surprise. It's an heartwarming film where the story takes place in a small Gypsy village, not far from Bucurest, in the heart of Rumenia. "Gadjo Dilo" is a Romani expression for "the mad stranger", which in this case is Stéphane; a young Frenchman who one day shows up in the village of Valachie. He has travelled far to find a female Gypsy singer he's got on a tape, being the favourite of his father. Stéphane befriends old Izidor, head of the village, and becomes sort of a son for him. Izidor, much of a madman himself, lets Stéphane live in his house, and gradually the romantic stranger gets pretty comfortable with the life lead by the Gypsies, while he gets closer to the soul of the Gypsy music. Life in the village is pretty much like living life only in the present, very lively, without giving tomorrow much of a thought. We're presented to joy and emotional spontaneity, to sadness and tragedies. To a culture marked by a couldn't-care-less attitude, after being haunted for centuries. Still, the ability to create happiness and looseness is intact. Indeed a colourful and high-tempered film-tale, by director Gatlif (whose earlier work include Latcho Drom, 1993, and Mondo, 1996).

The Hanging Garden
(Canada 1997)
Written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald.
Starring: Chris Leavins, Kerry Fox, Seana McKenna, Peter MacNeill, Christine Dunsworth, Joel S. Keller, plus others.

Yet another directorial debut, by the New York born "Canadian" Thom Fitzgerald. And another extremely elegant film. Sweet William (Leavins), the prodigal son, and a homo-sexual, returns home after 10 years absence, to his sisters wedding. And it's not a wedding like most weddings we know, I guess. The bride, Rosemarie (Fox, who played the girl in Shallow Grave), seems pretty "wild" on her big day, and the groom, Fletcher (Keller), was Sweet William's teenage-love. Their father, Whiskey Mac (MacNeill) gets one beer too many, and starts to tell some of the guests his honest opinion of what he thinks of them. Their grandmother being absolutely senile. Some bizarre kick-start for a story, eh. Sweet William left home because he had too much of his family, and when he returns his mother, Violet (Dunsworth) is quite guilt-ridden of what happened way back. We get presented for some of what happened when he was a young (and fat) boy. His father, only caring for his passion for gardening, was (and still is) an heavy alcoholic, treated his son in a brutal way. His mother, shocked by finding out that her (then) teen-age son was "different", brought him to a woman who, for a sum of money, were to "educate" young Sweet William to learn how to like women. Without success. The story slides between past and present with grace, and has some dark and twisted humor. Inbetween and under there are some pretty dark and heavy themes. Without much said, but enough to get you to understand the traumas and tragedy that have tormented this family. Thumbs up, Thom.

Yes, that's all, folks. Spending 27 hours at the movies in four days makes you feel a bit shaken and stirred. Nevertheless, I missed some films I really wanted to see (I got recommended; Kitchen Party (Canada 1997), Hana-bi (Japan 1997), and Vor (The Thief, Russia 1997) to name but a few), but it simply wasn't possible to be at two places at the same time, even if I tried to. You can't get everything, can you?
Tromsø - I'll be back!

Lights on
And, for you who missed the early show ...

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