Archive for the ‘European Film Festival’ Category

The Mermaid and the Magic Lotion

Save Sandra

Directors: Jan Verheven & Lien Willaert

Cast: Sven de Ridder, Darya Gantura, Rosalie Charlies, Charles Aitken, Kaisa Hammerlund, Christopher Dane

Running Time: 100 minutes

This film is in Flemish, French, Dutch and English with English Subtitles

Despite this film being a true story, the co-directors of this interesting Belgian film Save Sandra Jan Verheven and Lien Willaert have created quite a schizophrenic narrative.

Is this film about Palliative Care? Is this film about the media? Is this film about the evil multinational drug companies that create orphan drugs to treat rare diseases?

Aspects of Save Sandra are beautifully told, centering on the heartbreaking plight of the parents of six year old girl Sandra who receive the shocking diagnosis that their only daughter has a rare muscular degenerative disease. The parents are a young couple in Belgium, William and Olga Massart played by Belgian actors Sven de Ridder and Darya Gantura and Sandra is played by Rosalie Charles.

Olga is devastated that her daughter could possibly die within a year, while her energetic husband William decides to investigate every drug available to arrest Sandra’s degenerative disease coming across a rare drug which has not been properly patented in Belgium.

William and Olga travel to Copenhagen and then to Rotterdam to plead with the drug company to allow Sandra to qualify for this orphan drug, however the problem lies in the prohibitive cost per dose in Euro’s, which is money the young couple do not have.

To complicate matters further, the original drug company gets bought out by a massive multinational company based in Basingstoke in the United Kingdom. So the film’s action moves from Belgium to the British countryside and the white cliffs of Dover.

William Massart starts raising funds for Sandra’s treatment through various events in Belgium soon attracting media attention and even that of the Belgian Princess. Unfortunately, the more awareness he creates about his daughter, the worse Sandra gets, quickly becoming confined to a wheel chair.

The best parts of the film are the bed side stories that William, a devoted father tells Sandra covering up her muscular disease in fantasy and fairytales about princesses and mermaids, wonderfully illustrated through animation.

Save Sandra is worth seeing although at times the subject matter is heavy going especially regarding the entire story being about a sick child that isn’t going to recover. Unfortunately with two directors, the film lacks a unifying version and becomes a much lesser version of similar films like 1992’s Lorenzo’s Oil or the Oscar winning The Constant Gardener in 2005, which expertly tackled the lack of ethics associated with big multinational drug companies.

Based on a true story, Save Sandra is an interesting Belgian film but it is not brilliant. It gets a film rating of 7 out of 10.

The Actor and the Wrestler

Robust

Director: Constance Meyer

Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Deborah Lukumena, Lucas Mortier

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

This film is in French with English subtitles

Screened virtually at the 2021 European Film Festival

Oscar nominee for Cyrano de Bergerac Gerard Depardieu returned to the 2021 Cannes Film Festival with a self-reflexive film entitled Robust also starring an amazing Deborah Lukumena as Aissa a trained wrestler who takes on the rather strange job of protecting a famous actor past his prime Georges.

Gerard Depardieu as aging actor Georges

Georges is wonderfully played by the bad boy of French cinema Gerard Depardieu (The Life of Pi, The Secret Agent, La Vie en Rose), a character that is larger than life and is essentially a spoilt and needy actor who constantly requires attention and someone to assuage his prickly ego.

A fretful hypochondriac, Georges is preparing for a new role in a 19th century period film in which he is required to play a French land owner who is timid, vanquished and lost. And he must learn fencing.

Yet like all aging film stars, Georges who lives in a plush apartment in Paris is constantly misbehaving until he gets assigned a new protector the aspiring female wrestler Aissa who takes none of his nonsense or his masculine foibles.

Deborah Lukumena as Aissa

Aissa is trying to make a life for herself in Paris as she casually dates her co-worker the vacuous Eddy played by Lucas Mortier who is really using Aissa for sex.

Directed by Constance Meyer, Robust is essentially a slow moving study of two completely opposite characters who find an unlikely connection and form a bond. Aissa is not bothered by Georges supposed fame, while Georges feels secure knowing that Aissa is available even when he frequently disappears or goes off the rails.

Robust is not a dazzling film, but a wonderful character study of two fascinating people at the opposite end of their lives. Aissa is just starting out as a body guard and protector while Georges is constantly fretting over his fading stardom, even though he takes his wealth and privilege for granted, falling off motorbikes and getting inebriated.

The best scene in the film is when Georges gate crashes Aissa and Eddy’s romantic dinner at a Chinese restaurant in the 20th arrondisement of Paris and the young Eddy does not take to the cantankerous actor who is oblivious to how he burdens other people with his demands.

Robust gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is an enjoyable and light hearted French film and viewers will relish watching the delightful Depardieu on the screen again.

The Provider for Both Worlds

After Love

Director: Aleem Khan

Cast: Joanna Scanlan, Nathalie Richard, Talid Ariss, Nasser Memarzia

This film is in English, French and Urdu with subtitles

Screened virtually at the 2021 European Film Festival

British Pakistani film director Aleem Khan makes his impressive feature length debut with his thought provoking film After Love starring the amazing British actress Joanna Scanlan (Tulip Fever, Notes on a Scandal, Testament of Youth) and French actress Nathalie Richard who share a unique bond, which is complicated, maternal and at times malicious.

After Love shot mainly in Dover and in Calais, centres on a British woman who converted to Islam to marry her adoring Pakistani husband Ahmed briefly played by Nasser Memarzia.

Unfortunately, Ahmed dies of a sudden heart attack leaving his wife Mary beautifully portrayed by Joanna Scanlan who inhabits every frame of the screen, is left adrift.

Mary soon discovers that her late husband had a lover living in Calais, France just 21 miles away across the English Channel. Summoning all the courage in the world, Mary makes the journey to Calais to meet her late husband’s lover, a vivacious blond named Genevieve wonderfully played by Nathalie Richard who is not only coping with being a single mother but is in the process of moving to a bigger home in Calais.

Genevieve has to contend with Ahmed’s biological son Solomon played by Talid Ariss who constantly resents his mother and is harbouring sexual secrets of his own, a teenager bristling with attitude and deceit as he constantly wonders where his wayward father is.

In a careful plot twist, Genevieve mistakes Mary as an agency housekeeper coming to help her tidy up and move home. Mary knowingly insinuates herself into the complex lives of Genevieve and her obstreperous teenage son, while keeping her real identity private until all the secrets and lies are revealed in one final family dinner.

Joanna Scanlan is amazing in her first major role as the protagonist playing a white British Muslim woman who has to not only deal with her late husband’s death but the wider implications of discovering that he had a mistress and son across the Channel.

After Love is a careful study of the complex lives people live without becoming preachy or didactic, held together by a superbly understated performance by Scanlan who holds the entire film together even as her character’s world is both figuratively and literally changing around her. Joanna Scanlan deserves an Oscar nomination for this role. She is absolutely superb.

After Love debuted at the Cannes and Thessalonki Film festival in 2020 and now viewers can catch this fascinating film at the 2021 European film Festival online.

It’s highly recommended viewing and gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10.

The Skarderud Hypothesis

Another Round

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang, Lars Ranthe, Maria Bonnevie, Albert Rudbeck Lindhardt

Film Rating: 9.5 out of 10

This film is in Danish with English Subtitles

Running time 1 hour and 55 minutes

Watch Another Round without any moral prejudice. Watch this film without judgement, because Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s stunning film Another Round is truly superb, expertly exploring the psychology and comraderies’ of male friendships.

Focusing on four male friends in their mid-forties, they decide as teachers at a local college in Copenhagen to explore the Skarderud Hypothesis, based on Norwegian psychotherapist Finn Skarderud who believed that human beings are born with a 0.5% alcohol level too low, which in turn is based on an untested premise from an 1880 book called “On the psychological effects of wine” written by Edmondo de Amicis.

Another Round follows the raucous misadventures of Martin brilliantly played by BAFTA nominee Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Charlie Countryman, Doctor Strange) as he and his friends test this hypothesis with vodka, wine, absinthe and many other intoxicating drinks all during the day, when they are meant to be functioning as productive and intelligent college lecturers.

While the inebriating effects of their experiment start affecting their relationships with their wives and with their students, director Thomas Vinterberg expertly shoots this film without taking any moral stand. He shows the actors in a film which is both raw, nuanced and utterly plausible. There is no American slant on this film. It is refreshingly Scandinavian and perfectly Danish.

While the men slightly drunk become better teachers and coaches, they even begin to inspire some of their students specifically the extremely anxious Sebastian played by Danish actor Albert Rudbeck Lindhardt. Then tragedy occurs unexpectedly, because life isn’t hypothetical. It is messy, real and unpredictable.

Then Another Round does something brilliant, the film ends on a triumphant note celebrating life and all its subsequent misdemeanours, its irreverent messy complicated affairs but also everything that makes being human a celebration and something to applaud, despite our complex flawed existence. Catch the astounding dance sequence at the end of Another Round as the students celebrate their graduation. This is European cinema at its best.

Another Round deservedly won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 2021 Oscar Awards and is by far one of the best films I have seen this year and is available at this year’s European Film Festival online. Another Round gets a film rating of 9.5 out of 10 and is exceptionally brilliant.

This Danish film is highly recommended viewing, beautifully photographed, with superb acting by Mads Mikkelsen who deserved to get an Oscar nomination for his role as Martin.

Casting for Confidence

The Bright Side

Director: Ruth Meehan

Cast: Gemma-Leah Devereaux, Siobhan Cullan, Karen Egan, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Kevin McGahern, Barbara Brennan, Claire O’Donovan

European Film Festival 2021https://www.eurofilmfest.co.za/films/

This film is from the Republic of Ireland and has no subtitles

This film gets a rating of 7.5 out of 10

Irish director Ruth Meehan tackles the subject of breast cancer in her charming first full length feature film The Bright Side, starring a wonderfully off beat performance by rising star Gemma-Leah Devereaux (Judy) as thirty something Kate McLoughlin who has a budding career as a stand-up comedian and is the reckless sibling of responsible brother James played by Kevin McGahern.

Kate’s career is stopped dead in her tracks when she is diagnosed with breast cancer and has to undergo chemotherapy and a partial mastectomy. Kate’s wicked sense of humour endears her to her fellow breast cancer sufferers who she meets during chemotherapy including Tracey played by Siobhan Cullen and the ever glamourous Fiona played by Karen Egan.

Writers Ruth Meehan and Jean Pasley do not gloss over any of the psychological trauma of women undergoing treatment for breastcancer especially the effects of chemotherapy and the associated body image issues that women might have with losing their hair or having their breasts removed.

There is a wonderful scene, both empowering and beautiful when Kate decides to go for a night on the town and in the ladies room at the local disco, she is standing next to voluptuous young women in their twenties who are glamourizing themselves in front of the mirror, when Tracey appears. Both Kate and Tracey take off their wigs, much to the horror of the young women and stand together in solidarity, looking at their reflection in the mirror.

Obviously this is a female focused story, but there is room for a male character, the shy pharmacist Andy played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor who takes a shine to Kate and then even offers to take the chemotherapy group on a fly fishing excursion in his van which has the words Casting with Confidence on the side. Andy has lost his wife to breast cancer and he decided to encourage breast cancer sufferers to take up fly fishing to help their lymphatic glands get better, with casting for confidence.

The Bright side is a bitter-sweet comedy featuring an amazing performance by Gemma-Leah Devereaux which encompasses all the dark humour that the Irish are known for.

The Bright Side gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and is worth seeing, held together firmly by some strong female performances.

Both courageous and hilarious, this charming Irish film is highly recommended viewing for both men and women.

The Prague Remedy

Charlatan

Director: Agnieska Holland

Cast: Ivan Trojan, Josef Trojan, Juraj Loj, Jiri Cerny, Jaroslava Pokorna

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Czech and German with English Subtitles

Running Time: 118 minutes

Charlatan is screened virtually at the 8th European Film Festival from 14th – 24th October 2021 – https://www.eurofilmfest.co.za/films/

In a similar vein to director Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, Polish director Agnieska Holland’s handsome period drama Charlatan tackles the life and love of famed Czech healer Jan Mikolasec  played by Ivan Trojan who developed an uncanny knack for prescribing herbal remedies to patients based on their urine, a diagnosis determined by age and gender.

Ivan Trojek stars as Jan Mikolasec

Most notably, Mikolasec managed to navigate the political and social turmoil of mid 20th century Czechoslovakia as the country was first invaded and by the Nazi’s and then after World War 2, Czechoslovakia fell into the grip an equally totalitarian regime, the soviets as it got incorporated into the Iron Curtain until its liberation into glorious freedom during the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

Oscar nominated screenwriter and director of Europa Europa (1990), Agnieska Holland returns to the big screen with this touching film Charlatan about the tormented journey of Mikolasec and his hidden and rapturous love affair with his beautiful assistant Frantisek Palko, a truly stunning and muscular young man perfectly played by Slovakian actor Juraj Loj.

Both Mikolasec and Palko are married to women as a means to conceal their homosexuality as it was completely illegal both under the Nazi’s and under the equally cruel Soviet regime.

What director Agnieska Holland perfectly does is capture the conflicting emotions of this fascinating man, Mikolasec as he is tormented, cruel and gifted. Agnieska Holland who has featured prominently in directing several episodes of the brilliant political series House of Cards, once again highlights the slippery boundaries of sexuality amidst the shifting geo-political landscape in Czechoslovakia from the late 1930’s until the late 1950’s through the Nazi era and onto the Soviet era, a theme she returns to as she did so brilliantly in House of Cards.

Charlatan is a tough watch, it is both beautiful and horrific, and equal parts a semi-mythical tale of a talented herbalist and his beautiful assistant and their forbidden love affair, as they set up a business prescribing herbal remedies to the local population and earning money off their respective ailments.

The narrative is told in a series of flashbacks to Mikolasec’s youth, the younger version of himself ironically played by Ivan Trojan’s son Josef Trojan as he learns the secret of his tradecraft from a mysterious herbalist Mrs Muhlbacherova played by Jaroslava Pokorna.

Beautifully filmed, Charlatan gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is a fascinating period piece about a Czech herbalist who didn’t achieve fame outside of Eastern Europe but went through a harrowing time in his own country. This film is recommended viewing.

A Mother’s Anguish

Quo Vadis, Aida?

Director: Jasmila Zbanic

Cast: Jasna Djuricic, Izudin Bajrovic, Boris Ler, Dino Bajrovic, Johan Helderbergh, Raymond Thiry, Boris Isakovic

Running Time: 102 minutes

This film is in English, Serbian, Dutch and Bosnian with English Subtitles

Please note that this film is not for sensitive viewers

In possibly the toughest watch in the 2021 European Film Festival is the Bosnian war film Quo Vadis, Aida? Which translates to Where are you going Aida?

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2021 Oscars, is director Jasmila Zbanic’s heartwrenching retelling of the Srebrenica massacre in Quo Vadis, Aida? featuring a brilliant performance by Jasna Djuricic as the English speaking Bosnian translater Aida.

Jasna Djuricic should have received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress at the 2021 Academy Awards because her performance rivals that of Oscar winner Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice.

Quo Vadis, Aida? had it’s world premiere at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival and then was also screened at the Toronto Film Festival the same year.

As the Serb and Bosnian conflict reached its peak in the summer of 1995, the Serbian army overran the town of Srebrenica and immediately Aida who works as a Translator for the UN realizes that the population of this town is in desperate need of being saved.

Unfortunately, an ill-equipped Dutch run UN base is all that is guarding the inhabitants of Srebrenica from being annihilated by the Serbian army. On the 11th July 1995, the Srebrenica massacre occurred in which over 8000 men and boys were murdered and then buried in mass graves.

Told through the unflinching eyes of a desperate mother, Aida, a UN Translator is desperately trying to protect her husband Nihad played by Izudin Bajrovic and her two sons, Hamdjia played by Boris Ler and Sejo played by Dino Bajrovic from the Serbian army as the defenceless Dutch make a devil’s bargain with the Serbian army and allow them into the UN compound which is meant to be a safe zone.

Colonel Karremans played by Belgium actor Johan Heldenbergh (The ZooKeeper’s Wife) is out of his depth in a humanitarian crisis which is rapidly spiraling into a complete disaster receiving no guidance or support from those organizational superiors in the UN at the time, all of whom seem to be away on summer holidays.

Aida pleads with Colonel Karremans to save her two sons and her husband, sensing that something utterly tragic is about to unfold.

Director Jasmila Zbanic makes a sharp and harrowing film about a terrible event, which highlights more the ineffectiveness of a huge organization like the United Nations in times of ethnic cleansing, conflict and genocide in the face of humanity’s diabolical capacity for cruelty and violence.

Quo Vadis, Aida? gets a film rating of 9 out of 10 and is a superb film, but not for sensitive viewers. Highly recommended viewing about a horrific period of human history in the mid 1990’s.

Historical source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_massacre

The Lithuanian Radioman that Caused All the Trouble

The Jump

Director: Giedre Zickyte

This film is a feature length documentary

Lithuanian with English subtitles

Running time 1 hour 24 minutes

Film Rating: 9 out of 10

This documentary film will be screened virtually as part of the 8th European Film Festival – https://www.eurofilmfest.co.za/films/

Ever heard of Simas Kudrika? Don’t worry if you hadn’t.

Neither had I until I saw this absolutely brilliant documentary called The Jump by Lithuanian ethnographic film maker Giedre Zickyte whose previous credits included the short documentary film I am Not from Here which won Best Short documentary at the 2016 Budapest International Documentary Festival.

On Thanksgiving Day in November 1970, Lithuanian radioman and aspirant defector jumped off a Russian vessel onto a nearby American vessel off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts in American waters.

While the Americans aboard the Vigilant tried to harbour Simas Kudrika and keep him from being captured by the Russian seaman who had boarded the American vessel to hunt for Simas, they ultimately failed, leading to one of the biggest diplomatic muddles of the Cold War, sending ripples through the frosty relationships of the two biggest superpowers in 1970, America and the USSR.

The Russians recaptured Simas and extradited him back to Siberia in Russia and tried him for treason, for betraying the motherland, the almighty USSR.

Simas Kudrika

Meanwhile in America, particularly in political circles under the choppy presidency of Richard Nixon, the Simas Kudrika affair was starting to make waves both in the immigrant Lithuanian communities in New York, Washington DC and Chicago but also for the mere fact that how could those friendly American sailors allow Simas Kudrika to be recaptured by those nasty Russian naval officers when all Simas really wanted to do was defect to the land of the free and the brave, the gloriously opulent United States of America?

From 1970 to 1974, Simas Kudrika remained in freezing Siberian prisons completely unaware that an ocean away, the activists of the Lithuanian immigrant communities in America were successfully lobbying to get him freed and returned to America.

Even former top diplomat and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger (1973-1977) got involved as did President Richard Nixon’s successor President Gerald Ford.

Eventually through a strange twist of fate, the immigrant community in America discover that Simas’s mother was actually born in America so this Lithuanian radioman had some claim to his American birth right.

Documentary film maker Giedre Zickyte expertly blends archival TV and film footage with real interviews with Simas Kudrika in this brilliantly told true story of one man’s journey to defection from the then Soviet controlled Lithuania during the Cold War.

The Jump is a superb documentary, a real slice of cold war historical drama tinged with nostalgia and emotional realism to make the viewer side with who the real Simas Kudrika was, a Lithuanian radioman that didn’t mean to cause so much trouble but just wanted to live in a free country.

The Jump is highly recommended viewing and gets a film rating of 9 out of 10. An absolute treat of a documentary especially designed for history buffs.

Death is Always with Us

The Traitor

Director: Marco Bellocchio

Cast: Pierfrancesco Favino, Maria Fernando Candido, Nicola Cali, Fausto Russo Alesi, Luigi Lo Cascio

If viewers want an authentic Italian mafia film, then watch director Marco Bellocchio’s brilliant and atmospheric thriller The Traitor starring international Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino (Rush, My Cousin Rachel) as Tommaso Buscetta a former member of the Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia who flees Italy to go and live an exiled life in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Buscetta then turns state witness and joins the Italian prosecutors in attempting to persecute the high ranking members of the Cosa Nostra who evolved their cigarette smuggling business into a multi-million dollar heroin operation. All the implicated members of the Sicilian mafia are ruthless gangsters who feel nothing at killing an opponent’s children or relatives as well as killing them off. People are murdered in broad daylight or have their arms hacked off.

Toto Riina is the mafia kingpin who controls all these high ranking gangsters and as Buscetta turns traitor and rats on all of them. They all get arrested and stand trial in a bizarre and outrageous trial which is chaotic, sinister and shambolic from the potential convicts having epileptic fits to stripping naked in a packed courthouse.

Buscetta’s turbulent life is balanced by the calm guidance of Judge Giovanni Falcone played by Fausto Russo Alesi who realizes that by helping the traitor he is putting a target on his own back. In a poignant scene between Falcone and Buscetta they both realize that their imminent death is guaranteed and that death is always with them.

Certainly in The Traitor, there are a lot of killings including a particularly brutal seen whereby Buscetta’s two sons are tortured along with a devastating explosion along a Sicilian highway killing a key character in the film.

Buscetta gets witness protection for himself and his wife Cristina wonderfully played by Maria Fernando Candido who was nominated for a Best Actress Award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

They move to America and keep relocating to various places from Tampa, Florida to Salem, New Hampshire to Fort Collins, Colorado. Ultimately, Buscetta makes the decision to return to Rome to assist in prosecuting some of the remaining members of the notorious Cosa Nostra.

In the tradition of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and more recently director Martin Scorsese’s Oscar nominated The Irishman, director Marco Bellocchio’s The Traitor is more of an authentic chronological account of the rise and fall of the Cosa Nostra in Italy from Palermo to Rome, from Rio de Janeiro to Miami, a gritty and grand narrative of arrests, assassinations and sacrifice without an extravagant American flourish.

The best scenes in The Traitor are the bizarre courtroom scenes in Rome and Palermo and Bellochio’s method of pacing the film to not only shock audiences but keep them in utter suspense.

The Traitor is sometimes difficult to watch, violent, unapologetic and cruel but ultimately at the end it is a rewarding and thought provoking film about the Italian mafia which for over the last 50 years has been mythologized by the abundance of American films on this subject.

Thankfully, The Traitor is written and directed from a uniquely Italian perspective which gives it an operatic quality and gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10. Highly recommended viewing, but be warned this is a two and a half hour film.

Love Demands Sacrifice

Narcissus and Goldmund

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Cast: Jannis Niewohner, Sabin Tambrea, Roxanne Duran, Henriette Confurius, Elisa Schlott, Emilia Schule, Georg Friedrich, Matthias Habich, Andre Hennicke

Austrian Entry for the European Film Festival 2020

This film is in German with English Subtitles.

Winner of the 2008 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for The Counterfeiters, Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky returns to the Big Screen with the film adaptation of famed 20th century German author Hermann Hesse’s medieval novel Narcissus and Goldmund which is the Austrian entry for the European Film Festival.

Set in the 14th century in medieval Germany at the time of the Black Death plague which swept Europe, Narcissus and Goldmund focuses on the homoerotic friendship of two young men in the monastery Mariabronn. Narcissus is devoted to the monastic life of prayer and soliture and aims to become an Abbott.

His life is upended by the arrival of the gorgeous yet adventurous Goldmund, wonderfully played by German actor Jannis Niewohner, whose blond hair and sparkling blue eyes lands him in all sorts of trouble. Narcissus is played by Romanian actor Sabin Tambrea whose portrayal of tortured love and self-flagellation is nuanced and perfect.

Unlike Narcissus who has to constantly suppress his unrequited love, Goldmund on the other hand is a drifter, who decides that the Church life is not for him and embarks on a picaresque adventure as a young and handsome man who frequently lands himself in the beds of every available German maiden.

Goldmund is duped by the German noblewoman Lydia played by Emilia Schule and is taken up by the wealthy and entitled Julia played by Elisa Schlott. Riviera star, French actress Roxanne Duran also has a brief role as a noblewoman who seduces Goldmund.

Besides his numerous romantic adventures, Goldmund also has to use his wits to survive the growing devastation of the Bubonic plague which swept through 14th Century Europe as well as surviving the rage of his numerous patrons from Furst played by Georg Friedrich and Burger played by Matthias Habich. Goldmund possesses a unique talent of creating beautiful wooden sculptures and when he returns to Narcissus for assistance, his friend commissions him to create a beautiful altar for St Catherine at the Monastery.

Haunted with eternally searching for his lost mother, Goldmund creates a ravishing wooden sculpture reflecting all the woman he has met and seduced, a religious art piece that causes controversy amidst the cloistered monks. Narcissus confronts Goldmund about his suppressed love for him, but unfortunately their social circumstances forces them to remain apart.

As the prying Lothar played by Andre Hennicke says to Narcissus, a lifetime devotion to God is a love which demands sacrifice.

Narcisssus and Goldmund is a fascinating film about male friendship in the medieval times, about two diametrically opposed characters that ultimately lean on each other to survive in a harsh and judgmental society which was completely controlled by the Church.

Gorgeously shot with some unforgettable and enlightening sequences, Narcissus and Goldmund gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and is definitely worth seeing.

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