Friday, 27 April 2012

Sandra Hüller in "Über uns das All" [2011, Germany]

Young German director Jan Schomburg's mystery drama, "Über uns das All" [Eng. title: Above us Only Sky] is a surprisingly delightful piece of cinema. Surprising because I've never heard of the director - I picked it up only because it was well received at the Berlin International Film Festival last year. This is definitely one of the better films I've seen released lately - and I see a whole lot more than I bother to write about here.

I won't throw you spoilers, but here's the gist. The film starts with a tantalising reference to Shakespeare's ageless sonnet about love and marriage (Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds) as Martha conducts an English lesson for her class. She has a husband, and is in love. But her whole world, carefully constructed over years comes crashing down after his unexpected death. Who was he? Why was he feigning a life that's not his? Martha tries to piece together various clues to come to terms with her loss, so that she could start bereaving for the person she was in love with. During the course of her search, she will meet a professor who will enlighten elements of the same sonnet she'd been teaching her pupils...

It is refreshing to see this topic discussed during these days of convenient marriages, prenuptial agreements, and express divorces. While the film isn't remotely preachy or moralistic, it certainly tries to define what is true love. The characterisation required to generate the required drama is spot on, and aided by competent screenplay, we're kept glued till the end. The cinematography is exquisite, and the performance of Sandra Hüller who plays Martha certainly lifts the film to a higher level, in a very German way. Composed, precise, and detailed, this is as German as films come, and for that reason, Highly Recommended Viewing..! DVD Link

Compilation: Sandra Hüller

Sandra Hüller in Über uns das All

Scene Guide:
  • Sweet nothings between husband and wife Martha as they make plans to move to the south of France. Martha is played by an engagingly charismatic Sandra Hüller.
  • Martha comes looking for her sleepless husband - she wonders why he's so perplexed - he'll after all be alone in Marseilles only for a week before she joins him.
  • After her husband's death, Martha meets Alex, a History professor, and on a whim, invites him home. But her forthrightness puts Alex off - he suggests they don't have sex that night, having sensed she's not happy, and possibly even drunk. A peeved Martha gestures him to leave.
  • They meet again on a more formal date, and everybody is happy..!
  • A brief scene I decided to include in the end which I think is beautifully done.

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