Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Everyone Else

One of the standout movies at last year's film festival was Toni Erdmann, directed by Maren Ade. It is a relationship movie of sorts - Winfried is worried his daughter Ines is not happy in her chosen life as a corporate consultant. She's embarrassed by his goofiness, even more so when he adopts the persona of manic life coach Toni Erdmann, who looks more like a homeless man in a suit from an opshop than a pro.

This week's film society movie was from the same director, and had that same discomfiting sort of relationship. Chris is someone I never warmed to - he's a young architect and, from all accounts has a bright future in the profession, but is pretty much a square, quite uptight. He and Gitti are on holiday in Sardinia, in his parents' house - several rooms are filled with odd artworks, suggesting his mum is rather different from him. So is Gitti - she's emotional, expressive, fun. She's the sort of person who would accept a random invitation to go sailing with strangers she meets while out walking. There were only a couple of points where I could see them as a couple - generally when she gets him to lighten up (there's one scene in which she gets him dancing in a room housing some of his mother's collection, and he really lets go). For the most part, they're on the edge of antagonism - several times she's trying to communicate and he tries to shut her down with a kiss - at least she can say that's not the response she was looking for. She's willing to say she loves him but he can't say it to her, not until its too late.

There were a couple of really bad scenes: he convinces her to go hiking on a mountain; she's obviously finding it tough and feels lost but he just walks off and leaves her. After she's made such a nice picnic. When she finally catch up, he does relent and carry the picnic bag. Then there's Hans (and Sana), a kind of counterpoint couple. Hans knows Chris from back home, turns out to be a great admirer of his work (although initially Chris hides from him). Gitti gets on the wrong side of Hans, Chris thinks she has embarrassed him, and so there's lots of awkwardness when they are all together.

The end is odd: when Gitti wants to leave, Chris gets in the way - possibly simply because she should not be the one to leave, rather than any real feeling for her. She appears to die - I was convinced - but he just hangs out with her, doesn't seek medical treatment. Maybe she'd had one of these episodes before, but there was nothing to suggest he should not be concerned.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home