This was a pleasant surprise. I love when you discover something of
a hidden gem, even though this debut feature film from then only 25
years old director and co-scriptwriter Robert Sigl has aquired something
of a cult status in Germany.
"Ein wunderwerk des sanften grauens" says Der Spiegel on the
blu-ray cover, and i have no idea what this means but it sounded good.
It was filmed in Hungary in 1988 and with hungarian actors and it was
filmed with english audio. Supposedly the river village in the movie
should be placed somewhere along ... maybe the Rhine river ... but it's
really the Donau, and it looks just great, GREAT.
The cameraman Nyika Jancsó did some great work in this film who
really looks like a piece of art and the visuals including the beautiful
eyes of child actress Dóra Szinetár are the highpoint
of this film. This horror artmovie thriller just drips of gothic atmosphere.
Obviously this film has been released in UK by Redemption
earlier in some truncated version, but now it finally gets a high class
and release with this blu-ray combined DVD extras edition. A bit costly
maybe, but well worth the price and german releases just look great.
The film takes place in 1901 and a narrator tells us
that death has striked in a harbour town. Beautiful redhead Flora (Brigitte
with her husband, the sailor Arne, and her 9 year old daughter Laurin
(Dóra Szinetár. She was 11 years old when filming). Arne
for sailor work and we see how a killer murders a young gypsy boy and
pregnant Flora dies on a bridge witnessing the killer in action.
Young Laurin now has to live with her wheelchair-bound grandmother Olga
and with her big observing eyes she watches the killer.
Who's the killer? Well, that's no big surprise as it
really only could be one out of two, the ex-soldier and now schoolteacher
(Karoly Eperjes) or his dominant and scary father, the village pastor
(Endre Katay). But, as i said, the important thing with this film are
visuals and the atmosphere. Pretty impressive work from such a young
director just out of filmschool and the film won the Bavarian Film
Prize award for best debut director. A dark fairytale with gorgeous
colors filmed at Donau and the Hollókö castle.
It was shot in Hungary for monetary reasons and the production would've
cost 4 times more if filmed in Germany according to Sigl.
This Blu-ray edition has a german trailer and a booklet
with text and pictures in german, and comes with a DVD with extras.
It's presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and a DTS HD mono english audio
with english subs (to the german audio dub).
Extras: Det weinachtsbaum (a 1983 filmschool short film,
18 minutes with no english subs), Robert Sigl erzählt (28 minutes
the director, in german with no subs, the man seems to be something
of a horror forerunner in Germany), Behind the scenes 9 minutes,
Entfallene szenen, Interview with Dóra Szinetár (17 minutes
in english - known as a singer in Hungary and the movie has never been
shown in her homeland), interview with actor Barnabás Tóth
(young boy Stefan in the film, 9 minutes in english), interview with
man Nyika Jancsó (15 minutes in english), interview with filmcritic
Jonathan Rigby (31 minutes in english), interview with Olaf Möller
(17 minutes in german, no subs), footage from 1988 Bayerischer Filmpreis
and and a bilder galleri
Please note / Observera!! There's a
small cut in the sleeve at the spine of this bluray / ett litet jack
i ryggen på fodralet längst ned
(så går det ibland när man skall öppna en inplastad