Donnerstag, 14. Februar 2013

Berlinale: Camille Claudel 1915 / Das merkwürdige Kätzchen (The Strange Little Cat)

Juliette Binoche quivers, shouts and bawls through French competition entry "Camille Claudel 1915", based on the life of the asylum-bound famed sculptor. The most powerful moments of her performance, however, are when she does none of those things and instead just stares into space, letting that transcendent indifference, weariness and resignation blaze across the big screen. Director Bruno Dumont's approach to the movie is stern, exacting, relentless grim. Draining the frames of all music, employing harsh light bouncing off sun-bleached stone walls and sandy grounds, he made a film so sparse you're forced to be confronted head-on with the abundance of misery and suffering depicted. Not an easy film to sit through, but by the end of it, the consistency of the artistic austerity feels strangely moving and cathartic.

Young Swiss filmmaker Ramon Zürcher (b. 1982!) hit it out of the park with his feature film debut "Das merkwürdige Kätzchen (The Strange Little Cat)". Within 72 compact minutes, the writer/director managed to paint a lively family portrait complete with humor, conflict, even hints of passive aggression boiling underneath the surface. The script is neatly structured and beautifully-layered, weaving expertly in and out of dialogue, monologue, flashbacks and reverie, whereby baring childhood wonder, adult fears and a cross-generational tension that you can't quite put your finger on but is ever-present and authentic. The often static and always curiously stealth camera angle, the slightly hyperbolic color pallet create a cinematic language pregnant with suggestions and feelings.

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