Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Nina Hoss in "Das Herz ist ein Dunkler Wald" [2007 Germany]

We now have 'Medea' told from a woman's point of view - as if the original wasn't feminist-enough already!

Multi-talented Nicolette Krebitz is an actress, writer, director, cinematographer, singer and a composer as well (running out of breath here). Her 2007 drama "Das Herz ist ein Dunkler Wald" [Eng. Title: The Heart is a Dark Forest] is pretty much a ladies' affair - right from the story to the direction, cinematography and the editing, women claim the credits. And it shows too, admirably.

Marie's idyllic existence comes crashing down when she accidentally discovers that Thomas, her husband of several years has been having an affair - almost running a parallel family behind her back. Upon discovery at his mistress' home, Thomas tells Marie nonchalantly that he will be coming home to talk about this the following day as he has a performance later that evening. The film follows Marie's anguish during the course of the day as she desperately tries to make sense of what this bombshell of a discovery meant. To say she feels let down after all these years of marriage would of course be an understatement. Her two beautiful children are too young to understand why their mum is moody, and try to cheer her up any way they can. Marie finally decides to confront Thomas at the concert later that evening itself as she simply couldn't wait until the following day. Just as well, because as dawn breaks, Marie had already reached a particular state of mind...

The film is surprisingly well written and directed - it respects the audience intelligence most of the time, and the performance by all the main actors are very good, especially the intense portrayal of Marie by Nina Hoss. The cinematography and editing are both exceptional and the sound engineering also spot-on. My DVD came with an interesting making of where Ms. Krebitz explains her reasons behind the casting and adaptation. It also includes interviews by all the main cast. Needless to say, Recommended Viewing..! DVD Link (good deal going here at the moment)

Compilation: Nina Hoss
The first minute or so doesn't include nudity but it helps explain the dramatic scene afterwards that has no dialogue. Jonathan, a guest at the party where Thomas is performing has had his eyes on Marie all evening. By the time he catches up with her by the lake, Marie had reached a stage where she simply doesn't care about anything any more. But even then, she's pleased to learn she's still desired, despite being a mother of two, and they make love. The rest of the scene unfolds at day break after Jonathan leaves naked by the lake.

We watch speechless as Marie takes what must be a rather cold swim early in the morning before riding a bus home, in the nude, dripping wet. She picks up a gun from the gardener who'd just shot himself - he'd had a rough night too after discovering his wife's affair.

Nina Hoss in Das Herz ist ein Dunkler Wald


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