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)
Directed by Tom Tykwer. Written by Tom Tykwer and
Starring: Ulrich Matthes, Marie-Lou Sellem, Floriane Daniel, Heino Ferch, Josef Bierbichler,
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!!
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
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,
Tromsø - I'll be back!
And, for you who missed the early show ...
Copyright © 1998 Håvard Oppøyen