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directed by Barbet Schroeder
Switzerland/France 2015

 

Fifteen years away from Hollywood and nine years away from the international screen, Barbet Schroeder returns to his roots, not in the sense of his directorial debut MORE or his follow-up THE VALLEY but with an outdoor chamber piece that recalls his production efforts for Eric Rohmer (SIX MORAL TALES). The year is 1990. As East and West Germany break down the wall and move towards reunification, Martha (Marthe Keller, TIME OF THE WOLF) has spent the past forty years hidden away in Ibiza by the seaside in a hilltop cottage living a solitary existence by candlelight and has no plans to return to Berlin. Into her life comes young neighbor Jo (Max Riemelt, SENSE8) who has come to Ibiza to be part of the burgeoning techno music scene as a DJ. Unaware that Martha is a fellow countrywoman, he converses with her in English and the two slowly form a friendship built around their love of music. From the outside - through the perspectives of Jo's fellow DJ (Joel Basman, HANNA) and muse (Marie Leuenberger, THE CIRCLE) as well as Martha's longtime vintner friend (Fermí Reixach DARKNESS), the relationship seems like a May-December romance, but Jo knows very little about Martha despite the relative intimacy of their friendship: why she does not drink German wine, ride in German cars, the story behind the cello she refuses to play. The gulf between them comes into relief with a visit from his mother (Corinna Kirchhoff) and grandfather (Bruno Ganz, WINGS OF DESIRE) who have come to convince Jo to return to a changing Germany. The AMNESIA of the title refers to multiple states of forgetting: from Martha's "resistance" to everything German in light of the horrors of a war that to Jo is "ancient history" taught in school but not openly discussed even within family, to his mother who chose to move on and rebuild a shattered country, and finally it refers to the club where Jo is set to play, where music and its enjoyment are redefined with new creativity and technology. The first hour is an engrossing and tense character study that is sadly let down by the final third in which it is all too obvious what will happen when grandfather start telling tales after dinner and characters stop being characters and instead mouth out Schroeder's philosophy of forgetting as if it has been divvied up between the players. The film also reunited Schroeder and his SINGLE WHITE FEMALE cinematographer Luciano Tovoli (SUSPIRIA), a fine craftsman in his own right but whose natural light photography cannot help but recall that of Nestor Almendros (THE STORY OF ADELE H.) simply because of Schroeder's association with Rohmer.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 21 July 2017 (USA)

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DVD Review: Film Movement - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Film Movement

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:35:42
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.34 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French/German/Spanish/Russian Dolby Digital 5.1; French/German/Spanish/Russian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Film Movement

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
•  Short Film 'Your Mother and I' (16:9; 13:19)
•  Trailers

DVD Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments

Film Movement have afforded a slightly higher than normal bitrate for their progressive, anamorphic encode of this Red camera 6K-lensed, 2K-mastered high definition production (which must look simply ravishing from 1080p upwards). The Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 track are similar for most of the film with subtle rear channel activity until scenes dominated by music (including the club scene late in the film). The optional English subtitles translate only the foreign dialogue while closed captions cover the sounds, music, and the English dialogue, so the hard of hearing are recommended to enable both if possible on their player. The sole extra is a short film.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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Distribution

Film Movement

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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