Prélude

The acute accent is in the film title, so if anyone’s being pretentious its not me this time. And its all about David who is trying to become a concert pianist. He’s left his small village to join a music school, with hope of getting a scholarship to Juilliard college in New York. His tutor, Frau Professor something or other, is fastidious, so there’s lots of scenes of David playing the same snippet of music. Over and over again.

At the college, David meets Walter and Marie. Walter is apparently David’s biggest rival for the scholarship. And as he is in a relationship with Marie, there’s another rivalry going on as well. Sure enough, David literally takes Marie from Walter’s arms as he sleeps.

All this pressure starts to play havoc with David’s sense of self, and as his life spirals out of control, so does the coherence of the film. He dances to techno music, drinks too much and takes his clothes off. We see increasingly less of Marie, with an insinuation that many of the scenes with her just take place in David’s head. Other people drift into the film, with little announcement of who they are or what they are doing here.

I’ve seen quite a few films lately where plot is treated as an additional extra that you can dispense with for long periods of time. I guess its the time of year. There aren’t many US-American blockbusters being released at the moment, so we’re getting a string of films which debuted at the Berlinale or the Munich Film festival. They often try to address interesting questions and rarely (and thankfully) go much above 90 minutes, but you find yourself desperate for a car chase or a couple of characters who are exactly what they seem.

Is Post Modernism still a thing? Because even if it isn’t, it still seems to be leaving its legacy. If art has little relationship with or responsibility to the Real World, then there’s no need to make any real sense. You can just pile on scene on after another until you’ve got enough inches of film in the can to be able to call it a day. Its not necessarily bad, but do they really need to have so much of this sort of stuff?

At the very least there’s not a happy ending. I hate happy endings. But because we’ve never really felt what David feels or seen things through his eyes, the saddest of endings feels a little underwhelming. Time to go home, story’s over. Turn up tomorrow and there’ll be another one that’s frighteningly similar.

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