Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vivere - Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

Vivere_scene_02.jpg

Watching this film, two things struck me. One was the nice reds and greens Judith Kaufmann achieved in the cinematography and the other was that a good portion of the story involves a young woman's romantic interest in an older woman. Lord knows, there are plenty of films about older men and younger women [and, according to Hollywood, a leading man can never be too old to be cast opposite an actress under thirty] and a lesser number of films about an older woman and a younger man, but I haven't seen too many about an older woman and a younger woman, especially when the older woman is not a glamourpuss like Catherine Deneuve. So, from my limited experience, this is a unique plot but, looking up the director, Angelina Maccarone, on IMDB, I discovered that this is the second feature she's done on this theme. So, I guess it is a budding genre!

In any case, that's neither here nor there. Employing a bit of chronological backtracking, redolent of Arriaga and I/+/-/*rritu, Vivere presents the intersection of three characters. Francesca, an immigrant taxi driver who takes care of her widowed father and younger sister; Antoinetta, the impetuous younger sister who runs off with her musician boyfriend and Gerlinde, a newly unemployed older woman who intersects with both.

Although given equal time, it is Francesca, worn with too much care and Gerlinde, worn from lack of care, who converge most vividly. With her Fassbinder-worthy face, Hannelore Elsner plays world-weary muse to Esther Zimmering's overburdened youth. When Francesca has to fetch her sister from Rotterdam on Christmas eve, she crosses paths with Gerlinde, suffering from a car-wreck and a wrecked-heart, and it is the compassion that grows from their encounter that forms the heart of the film. A key scene occurs on a cheap hotel bed where all the elements, the reds, the greens, Elsner's cigarettes-and-whiskey visage and Zimmering's receptive brown eyes, come together.

Maccarone wasn't represented at the German Spotlight at SIFF, but this is a nice opportunity to see one of her films and, hopefully, we'll get to see more in Seattle.

Vivere, 2007, Germany, 133 min.
Saturday, October 13, 3:00pm Harvard Exit

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