Monday, March 3, 2008

Vivere (GERMAN)

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Drive, Lola Drive

Ten years ago, Germany gave us Run Lola Run, a multi-angled, high-octane adventure about a girl on the go who has less than an hour to find a bag containing $100,000 in drug money before her boyfriend will be killed by mobsters. Now, also from Deutschland, we have Vivere, an equally-urgent, if less frenetically-executed, road trip revolving around dysfunctional family drama.
The saga starts on Christmas Eve in the city of Cologne where we find cab driver Francesca (Esther Zimmering) trying to convince her younger sister, Antoinetta (Kim Schnitzer), not to run off to Rotterdam. Her plan is to ride in a van with the band of her boyfriend, Snickers (Egbert Jan Weeber), an irresponsible rock musician who looks a little long-in-the-tooth to be still trying to make it.
But there’s to be no discouraging the thoroughly smitten teen from following her Peter Pan, especially since she’s just discovered that she’s pregnant. And when their overprotective father (Aykut Kayacik) finds out that his impressionable, favored daughter has flown the coop, he goes ballistic and sends her elder sibling after her in hot pursuit.
Francesca doesn’t get far in her Mercedes taxi, however, when she comes upon the scene of a one-car accident. Inside the damaged vehicle, she finds Gertrude (Hannelore Elsner), an elderly lesbian at the end of her rope who wrecked the auto right after just being dumped by her married lover.
The empathetic cabbie decides to take the groggy dyke along to Rotterdam as a passenger, and sexual tensions soon arise between the two en route. Still, job one remains finding Antoinetta, even if the plans might be temporarily waylaid.
Written and directed by Angela Maccarone, Vivere is a surrealistic triskellion of interlocking and overlapping tales unfolding from the slightly different perspectives of our three leading ladies. The film is likely to prove infuriating to anyone impatient for grounding via such familiar cinematic staples as resort to violence or sex. Yet, this ethereal escape has a legitimate feminist statement to make to those willing to allow women to resolve relationship issues on their own enigmatic terms.
Run, Lola Run meets Thelma and Louise!

Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, profanity, female frontal nudity and drug use.
In German, Dutch, Italian and English with subtitles.
Running time: 91 minutes
Studio: Regent Entertainment

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