Thursday, 25 August 2011

Annett Renneberg in "Devot" [2003, Germany]

As far as I know, "Devot" [Eng. Title: Devotion] appears to be the only released feature film of Igor Zaritzky. But unless he had given up film making, for his talents he should have made more films by now - he has what it takes to be a good director.

This film was billed a psychological thriller. Agreed, it isn't a perfect film - we have too many different strands of thought, and not all get to be followed through to their completion. But there are some great ideas lurking in them - if only they were developed further. The film also could have worked better if it was constructed as psychological drama as opposed to a thriller. The film's beginning and the end make sense, but the meaty middle bit meanders and looses track. A tightened screenplay would have made into a rather good drama instead. Apart from this, it is actually very well put together in terms of cinematography, editing, lighting and sound. Importantly you have great chemistry between the lead actors who appear on screen for almost the whole duration of the film. It's one thing definitely going for it, and at least for that reason, the film is worth checking out. Recommended Viewing.

The film starts in a similar vein to "La Ardilla Roja" posted recently - the only difference is, here we have a young woman, Anja trying to jump off a bridge, only to be noticed by a passing driver, Henry. But instead of being concerned, he makes her believe he'd taken her for a prostitute, and enquires about her fee. Anja plays along and gets in the car, and they end up in Henry's place where most of the events unfold. We see each of them having something to hide, and Henry getting increasingly frustrated with Anja's mind games. The ending won't be to everyone's liking, particularly if they're fed on a diet of feel-good films from Hollywood - this one is provocative, and very German. Anja is excellently played by Annett Renneberg - there's something 'wickedly' charming about her that despite her outrageous behaviour, you couldn't help but fall in love with her character as the film progresses.

As usual, the compilations are made from my DVD. There's also a great deal going at for those interested.

Compilation: Annett Renneberg

Annett Renneberg in Devot

Scene Guide:
  • After bringing Anja home, Henry asks her to strip for sex, for that's what he paid her for. Anja is hopeless in pretending to behave like a prostitute, and rushes into the bathroom after feeling humiliated - he had now commented on her cheap perfume. She wants to return the money and leave, but Henry wants his 'money's worth'.
  • Anja changes her mind and obliges Henry, but the manner in which this sex scene is made is quite strange, with Anja seemingly enjoying being physically assaulted and suffocated. If this had something to do with the rape ordeal in a 'story' she narrates to Henry, it is not sufficiently correlated. Whatever the case, she's frustrated at the end of it and rushes off to the bathroom leaving Henry bewildered.
  • There's a surveillance camera in the bath (now why would anyone have one there?). Henry switches the monitor off after noticing Anja had noticed it. But when he checks in to the bathroom to see what's taking her so long, he's shocked to see Anja had slit her wrists - he tries to resuscitate her but gets no response and calls emergency.
  • Knowing the bruised lips and handcuff marks on her wrist will count against him if the authorities get involved, he buries her 'body' in a shallow grave at the backyard. But he couldn't sleep and has nightmares.
  • He goes back to the grave to make sure it is all okay, and discovering Anja isn't dead after all, he brings her back in.
  • Anja has low blood pressure, and sometimes has fainting spells. In the bathroom, she starts remembering what happened to her in the bath. She thinks Henry had tried to kill her, and decides to leave.

Bonus Scene: Extended version of the love scene
Here's the longer version - taken from the DVD extras. It also includes more frontal nudity, but quality-wise, the scenes from the main film are better. But I wonder why Zaritzky didn't use this in the final cut as this is far more erotic.

Annett Renneberg, extended love scene in Devot


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