Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Impossible Picture (2017) Kino 2018

The Impossible Picture is a haunting masterpiece. Its inclusion in the Kino Film Fest of German films is a clear indication of why Kino is one of the most vital and important festivals going. This film could have and should have been snapped up by one of the bigger festivals such as New York or New Directors New Films. It is a film that challenges us from the outset in its construction and plotting and which wins us over to become one of the best films I’ve seen in 2018.

The film is nominally the film record of a family in the 1950’s. It begins with a father filming family events and then morphs as the older ill daughter picks up the camera. What we see is a quietly crushing view of life as events are eluded to in obtuse dialog, actions in the background say more than what’s up front and what we see later alters what went before. It is a powerful film that requires multiple viewings because I didn’t catch everything the first time.

I was kind of turned off at the start. I got the conceit of the film. I thought I knew what it was doing. But then as I got to know the characters, as I began to piece the fragments of their life together the film sucked me in. I was invested. And then as the home movie idea kind of faded away I never noticed. I was in the room with the women, living heir lives of quiet desperation.

The promotional material talks about the film being about memory and reality, but to be honest that is too simple. What we are seeing is bold statement about life and existence not just in 1950’s Europe but everywhere at every time as what is said is found to be not the way life is lived. Sandra Wollner has made a film much more universal than most discussions have made it out to be.

Let’s be honest here- the film is masterpiece and a grand achievement. Running a scant 68 minutes it has more emotion and thought in than most films running twice its length. Having blocked out two hours to see the film I was shocked at how short it was. Enthralled I was going to take a brief break and then dive back in only to find that instead I spent the next several hours just thinking about the film.

This film will hang with you. Go see it.

THE IMPOSSIBLE PICTURE plays April 9 and 11 at the Kino Festival and is highly recommended.

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