Saturday, January 16, 2016

What Did I Just Watch?

Continuing the Wim Wenders series, the second entry in his road movie trilogy.

Shot on color 35mm by the amazing Robby Müller and restored at 4K in 2015 on DCP,  (1975, Wim Wenders) is droll and unpredictable throughout. It's odd.

Falsche Bewegung opens with some helicopter shots of a German town that progresses into the window of one of the houses where the film's star Rüdiger Vogler, who I'm really beginning to appreciate since Alice in den Städten (1974, Wenders), obsessively keeps playing a Troggs record then punches through windows with each of his fists. He lives with his mother and wants to be a writer, so he ventures out into the country on a train in search of inspiration.

None of this movie made any sense to me whatsoever. Yet watching it Friday night I would not have rather watched anything else. I'm still only beginning to really become familiar with the road movie as a genre. But Falsche Bewegung seems to be the best example I've seen of leaving your usual surroundings and encountering different people, who don't necessarily teach you anything although that in itself causes you to live.

Didactic film practices always rely on cause and effect. What's great about Falsche Bewegung is that it's never important where these characters came from or where they're going. So the first character the writer encounters is a girl called MIGNON played by 13 year old Nastassja Kinski (in her first movie and she's credited here as Nastassja Nakszynski). Mignon is really pretty, never speaks a word and is a magician acrobat performer who street hustles with her companion, an old man with a shady WWII Nazi past who plays a harmonica.

On a train across from them an actress played by Hannah Schygulla is drawn into the group. The final member of the group will be a poet played by Peter Kern. I'll always remember Kern as FATTY in Faustrecht der Freiheit (1975, Rainer Werner Fassbinder). Schygulla is easily one of cinemas greatest actresses who had a symbiotic chemistry with a director, in her case Fassbinder, that lasted through several films: Von Sternberg/Dietrich, Fellini/Masina, Cassavetes/Rowlands, Waters/Divine. Okay so I know I don't have a strong point to make here, but having watched dozens of Fassbinder movies and loving them so so so much I was absorbed by the nuanced creativity of Falsche Bewegung just because it used some of the same actors from Fassbinder's films, was made around the same places during the same years and is so far from resembling most mainstream more well known movies or all of the garbage on Netflix and cable TV.

Falsche Bewegung is mostly a couple of characters talking at any given time, but it's not dialogue driven. It's all about the people, but it's not character driven. I boil film down to a formula, I've always believed if a movie can nail just one aspect out of plot, dialogue, character, setting, or genre then it can fail at the other four and still work. Falsche Bewegung is a formidable example of the road movie genre and an unforgettable escape.

And again Robby Müller's cinematography painted gorgeous locations on canvasses both rural and urban, highlighted by green fluorescent sources in the nightwork, autumn foliage, sweeping valleys, giant snowy mountains in the day work.

Watching Falsche Bewegung in the theater last night was one of the rare instances I lost complete sense of time at some point during the movie. I can't wait to see where Wenders goes next.


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