Saturday, 30 June 2012

Magdalena Kronschläger & Anna Rot in “Tag und Nacht” [2010 Austria]

Whether it is about students funding their education or young women consciously making a lifestyle choice, storylines dealing with prostitution never seem to go out of fashion – on contraire, they’re only becoming more popular. Perhaps they should now be classified as a sub-genre in itself! :)

Talented Austrian writer-director Sabine Derflinger's "Tag und Nacht" however explores this cliché-ridden topic a bit further than others, through its emphasis on characterisation rather than merely focusing on protagonists' circumstances or unpleasant experiences. Nothing too dramatic happens to the characters, and neither are their clients and pimps depicted as monsters. She achieves this by forcing through her protagonists a series of dilemmas, and watching them respond.

University friends Lea and Hanna, on a whim (well - a toss of coin), decide to try out prostitution as opposed to waiting tables to make some money on the side. We're led to believe Lea to be the adventurous one, with Hanna being the more circumspect. But as they settle down in their chosen profession, we get to see a different side to each of them, one that fleshes out their characters into individuals charting their respective lives, aided by their own morals and ethics.

In retrospect, "Tag und Nacht" (Day and Night) is an apt title for this film - apart from merely being the name of the escort agency that Hanna and Lea work for, it is also indicative of their character, and choices they make. The film is also beautifully made with some fine cinematography, editing, and sincere performances from all the main cast. Anna Rot in particular is exceptional and convincing as Lea, and apart from being gorgeous, she also reminds me of a young Maribel Verdú. As for Ms. Derflinger, she's done a fine job yet again, but I couldn't help noticing the screenplay being a tad inconsistent in one or two places - some references have loose ends that make little sense and are perhaps unnecessary even. It also makes me wonder whether the DVD I have is indeed the director's approved cut - IMDB states that this film is 101 minutes long, but the main film in my DVD was only 97 minutes without taking into account any extras. Unless IMDB has got it wrong (which it does sometimes), this may well be a truncated version. Despite this, and having seen only one other film from this director to date (Vollgas), I quite look forward to exploring more of Ms. Derflinger's work. Recommended Viewing..! DVD Link

Nicoletta Prokes, Martina Spitzer, Wolfgang S. Zechmayer, Magdalena Kronschläger, Anna Rot, Thomas Declaude, and Martin Brambach
The nudity in the film, while abundant, are perhaps unavoidable for such a storyline. It also includes at least one instance of explicit male nudity. I've nevertheless kept the graphics relatively low-key.

Nicoletta Prokes, Martina Spitzer, Magdalena Kronschläger, and Anna Rot in "Tag und Nacht"

Scene Guide:
  • A new staff member's portfolio being taken by the owner of the escort agency. Played by Nicoletta Prokes.
  • Sissi may be the owner's wife, but she's also one of the escorts. Here she's switched by her client midway with an inexperienced but diligent Hanna. Sissi, the client, and blonde Hanna are played by Martina Spitzer, Wolfgang S. Zechmayer, and the beautiful Magdalena Kronschläger respectively.
  • Lea meets a friend from back home at a party unexpectedly, and they catch up afterwards. Lea is well played by the stunning Anna Rot.
  • Lea visits an older client with some advanced sexual tastes. The client is played by Thomas Declaude.
  • Lea brings along Hanna for an appointment with businessman-client Kai, obviously for a threesome. This is a long but visual scene that require little guidance. Client Kai is played by Martin Brambach.
  • A beautifully shot underwater scene of Lea with Hanna.
  • No nudity, but interesting scene of Hanna satisfying one of her fetishistic customers, to show the audience her willingness to go the extra mile where necessary.
  • Lea and Hanna are asked to visit a client at what appears to be a swinger's club.
  • Hanna had gotten close to university friend Harald, who begins to love her. But after learning what she does for a living, he confronts Hanna by booking her through the agency in this tense scene.
  • Having drowned her sorrows in alcohol and drugs, Hanna is in no state to entertain a 'special guest' of the agency.

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