04 November 2015

DER NACHTMAHR (Viennale International Film Festival 2015)


Literal English Title:
The Nightmare

Germany, 2015
Director: Akiz


Made on a micro-budget of about 100.000 Euro (=$110.000), the debut feature of German filmmaker/writer/sculptor/painter Achim Bornhak a.k.a Akiz is a wild and fascinating genre-bastard, that skillfully jumps between coming-of-age drama, horror, Larry-Clark-like teen movie and arthouse without ever becoming a mess.
I initially expected this to be some kinda dark creature feature, yet to my surprise, "Der Nachtmahr" (= The Nightmare) turned out to be a much more 'positive' and rather uplifting movie, somewhere between - not kidding! - "E.T.", "Basket Case", "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and last year's German masterpiece "The Samurai".

The story revolves around Tina, a teenage girl whose life gets turned upside down when one day, after attending a rave party, a strange little Henry-Fuseli-like creature starts to haunt/follow her. At first, Tina is completely unable to cope with this grotesque situation because aside from her, no-one can see this odd being, and obviously no-one believes Tina, and no therapy session, no party, no parents talk seem to help. But then one day, she realizes that the creature isn't a threat and doesn't mean no harm to her. This "Nachtmahr" is actually the friend she never had and an unexpetced chance for a new life.

Driven by energetic techno music from legends like Alec Empire or ex-Breeder bass player Kim Gordon (who even has a small cameo in the movie!), director Akiz leads you into an impressive, slightly crazy and splendidly mesmerising cinematic phantasmagoria, full of bewildering dream/nightmare sequences, aggressive strobe-laden dance-club scenes, vivid colours, semi-realistic dialogue and an array of puzzling, amusing AND touching scenes of an, erm, teenager with problems trying to bond with a stunningly designed monster that is ugly, eerie and super-sweet at the same time.

The acting is terrific, especially Carolyn Genzkow's absolutely marvellous, extremely believable performance. Akiz' direction is fantastic, music and cinematography are excellent, special effects and editing are top-notch, and even though I was hoping for an ending not as odd as the one we ultimately got, there's nothing to complain or rant about. "Der Nachtmahr" is a wow!-movie and a must-see for fans of horror off the beaten genre paths

1 comment:

  1. This does sound very interesting. It's on the To See list.


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