Rimini (2022)

Rimini
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Writer: Veronika Franz, Ulrich Seidl
Cast: Michael Thomas, Tessa Göttlicher, Hans-Michael Rehberg, Inge Maux, Claudia Martini, Georg Friedrich
Seen on: 23.4.2022

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism, fascism

Plot:
Richie Bravo (Michael Thomas) is a “schlager” singer whose heyday has long been over. He lives in Rimini now where he barely gets by with performances for busloads of German-speaking tourists, the occasional sex work and renting out his house to fans while he himself goes to stay in a shabby room in one of the many hotels that are empty for winter. When his estranged daughter Tessa (Tessa Göttlicher) shows up to demand money from him, Richie needs all his (more or less sleazy) survival skills to comply with her request.

Rimini is a typical Seidl movie in a way, but there is an almost optimistic note at the end of the film that is rather untypical. In any case, it’s the portrait of a sleazy man that spares nothing, as it is the portrait of a tourist town without tourists.

The film poster showing Richie Bravo (Michael Thomas) performing on an empty stage in front of a glitter curtain.
Continue reading

The Crucible

The Crucible
Director: Yaël Farber
Writer: Arthur Miller
Cast: Richard Armitage, Harry Attwell, Samantha Colley, Natalie Gavin, Anna Madeley, William Gaunt, Jack Ellis, Ann Firbank, Adrian Schiller, Neil Salvage, Michael Thomas
Seen on: 03.02.2015

Plot:
A girl has fallen ill in Salem and witchcraft is suspected. When a group of young girls led by Abigail Williams (Samantha Colley) starts to act possessed, things quickly run out of control and one woman after the other is accused of being a witch, apprehended and put on trial. But Abigail has her own motives and they revolve around John Proctor (Richard Armitage) who had a short-lived affair with her some time ago. John doesn’t realize the gravity of the situation at first, but as things continue to spiral out of control he finds himself more and more involved.

I remember reading The Crucible in school and quite liking it (though I couldn’t remember the details anymore), but this production really didn’t do it for me, despite the really excellent cast.

thecrucible Continue reading

Paradies: Hoffnung [Paradise: Hope] (2013)

Paradies: Hoffnung
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Writer: Ulrich Seidl, Veronika Franz
Cast: Melanie Lenz, Verena Lehbauer, Joseph Lorenz, Viviane Bartsch, Michael ThomasMaria Hofstätter
Part of: The Paradise Trilogy (first movie: Paradise: Love, second: Paradise: Faith)

Plot:
While Melanie’s mother is on holiday in Kenya, 13-year-old Melanie (Melanie Lenz) is at a diet camp. Between the sadistic sport sessions and the weirdly military set-up of the entire thing, Melanie finds new friends, earnest teenager sex-talk, alcohol and cigarettes. But she also falls in love with the camp doctor (Joseph Lorenz), 40 years her senior, who shows her some kindness.

Paradies: Hoffnung is probably the most positive of the Paradise movies. That is not to say that it’s a lighthearted comedy, but, as the title promises, at least there’s some hope that not everything necessarily has to be completely awful. That is not much but it is nice that Seidl finishes his trilogy on that note.

paradies_hoffnung

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

Böse Buben / Fiese Männer (Bad Boys / Hideous Men)

Böse Buben / Fiese Männer
Director: Ulrich Seidl
Based on: David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Cast: Georg Friedrich, Wolfgang Pregler, Lars Rudolph, René Rupnik, Nabil Saleh, Michael Thomas, Michael Tregor
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Plot:
A bleak cellar. Seven men meet there. They exercise, they talk – less to each other than about themselves, slowly opening up more about their very private concerns, their obsessions, their fantasies and also revealing the very seedy underbelly of the (Austrian?) male.

This whole productions is very mixed. There are moments that are really fantastic, but more often than not it ends in drudgery. Especially whenever they depart from the original David Foster Wallace texts.

Continue reading