April 13, 2011

Brownian Movement (Netherlands 2010)

Yesterday I travelled about 240 kilometers in one day just to see the opening film of the Crossing Europe Film Festival in the Upper Austrian capital Linz. That probably sounds crazy to anyone who is not obsessed with cinema and who never felt the urge to see a film as early as possible. And while I do not do this on a regular basis, the prospect of attending the premiere of a film at a film festival followed by a discussion with the director always gets me excited...

So what was the film that I desperately wanted to see? It's a Dutch film that couldn't have been a better choice for opening a festival whose focus is on smaller, non-mainstream European films. Its title -  "Brownian Movement" - a reference to a scientific term - is as enigmatic as the film itself. It is directed by Nanouk Leopold, one of the more interesting female directors working in Europe right now - which is why the festival also shows a retrospective of her earlier films. She studied art and it certainly shows in her reduced framing, her eye for perspective and in the way she implements backgrounds and architecture into the compositions. Above all, this is a film where the images tell the story. That is, if one can talk about a story at all since the plot of the film is actually paper thin. It's about a young doctor who - despite being in a happy relationship - rents an apartment to have sex with random, mostly unattractive men.

Nothing much else happens and nothing at all is explained in the course of the film which is divided into three parts. The third part does not really add much to the previous two but this might also be because of the reluctance of the director to give easy answers. But since the topic of the film is that everyone has secrets and not everything in life can be explained, this feels rather coherent. And she also forces us to think which is always a good quality in a film. Another reason to see the film is the performance of Sandra Hueller which is on par with the one in "Requiem" for which she won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale in 2006.

"Brownian Movement" could be seen as representative for the whole festival since it embodies the cinema of anti-Hollywood. In a tradition that goes back to masters like Antonioni and Resnais, this quintessential European art film leaves its viewers with an overall impression of uncertainty.

(Crossing Europe Linz)


The secret in her eyes: Sandra Hueller

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