Posts Tagged ‘german’

Der Todesking is the 2nd film by Jorg Buttgereit following his cult hit Nekromantik. Both have the similar violent episodes and graphic ideas, but der Todesking is a much more serious film and doesn’t rely on special effects to get its deep and quite powerful message across.

The film is a series of 7 shorts covering each day of the week and focusing on a different individual. Each short is linked by the theme of suicide or death with the linking tool being a chain letter explaining why death is the only option.

Devoid of pretty much all humour, der Todesking presents a stunning nihilistic view on life and humanity. There’s No one trying to stop these suicides, no one mourning the loss. It’s a stark, realistic portrayal on the subject and one that is unlike pretty much anything else.

Some of the segments are stronger then others but none are bad. Wednesday is especially poignant and powerful as it used no dialogue, no characters and no violence instead it features a suicide bridge and the names of some who have jumped from it. I got the same feeling from it that I got from the documentary ‘the Bridge’ which focused on suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge. To evoke such emotion using little other then names and film of a concert bridge is quite remarkable and it’s a great feat of filmmaking. It would have been easy to just film people jumping off the bridge but instead Buttgereit reigns it back and uses simplicity and minimalism and in doing so creates something remarkable.

Saturday is the other day that stands out as with recent shootings around the world it rings very true. It consists of a woman filming herself shooting people during a concert. No reason for it and no justification, just a shooting. It’s scary because it feels pretty real.

The no justification is a theme that runs through the film and is one of the things that makes it stand out. We as order a want to know why something is happening and not knowing scares us. By presenting the segments in this way Buttgereit has created a far more powerful and far more real film.

Gore is at a minimum here as well which is a surprise considering the visual effects of Nekromantik. The goriest moments are a decomposing body that works s a bridge between days. This decision is another smart one as itdoesnt distract from the deep message the film is conveying.

The soundtrack is fascinating as well as it’s nothing like you’d expect (unless you have seen Nekromantik). It doesn’t always 100% gel but it’s always great. When it does work it just merges with the visuals creating a sensationally strong experience.

All in all der Todesking is a remarkable film that defies genre and really is unlike anything else. I wouldn’t call it a happy film you can pop on, grab the popcorn and enjoy. I’d say it is a film that strikes fast and hard and drives home a powerful and important message about suicide and death. It doesn’t glorify it like most horror films, it doesn’t portray it as good or bad, just a thing that happens.

As an experience I cannot recommend it enough. Yes it is slightly dated in places but it doesn’t really affect the impact. It’s definitely not for everyone. I imagine the audience for it is quite small but I urge any intrigued to watch it. It’s fascinating, powerful and thought provoking filmmaking at it’s best.

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Created by Federico Bertolucci  and Frederic Brremaud, the series ‘Love’ aims to tell emotional tales with no dialogue or narration. Instead they aim to convey the story and its raw emotional power through some carefully crafted artwork and a very simple (yet highly relatable) idea.

Each of the stories are standalone and do not require the reader to have read the previous book in the series ‘Der Tiger’. This one if you do not understand German is ‘The Fox’ and follows the journey of a fox during an extreme environmental event. To explain any more of the story would take away some of the power that the story has, so I will leave it there in terms of description. What I will say is that the book progresses at a fast rate and is constantly gripping. It may not be the longest of books, but I’d argue that it is of perfect length. Any longer and the story would have dragged a little. Any shorter and the stories development would be sacrificed.

Without text it is even more of a necessity than usual that the artwork is great. Luckily we are in luck as this is easily one of the most beautiful books I’ve read (if you can consider following pictures as reading that is). It could easily be looked at as an art book as each panel pops with stunning detail. The character designs are realistic and their faces convey true emotion without drawing the reader out with them talking to one another. The main character ‘the fox’ it beautifully realised and makes for the perfect guide through this story. With the book being as it is, the story never gets bogged down with un-necessary side characters or events happening in different places. This allows the artwork to shine even more as we are never wondering where we are or what’s happening.

I guess it’s time to address the elephant in the room. Yes this book is in German (although an English translation should be hitting stores later this year) but it doesn’t really matter. The only text is a little section at the start and the title. The fact that the rest of the story is entirely visual allows for it to be universally understood.  It really is one of those cases where less is definitely more. The creators know exactly what they are doing and have realised that they are working in a very visual medium. They are accepting the whole ‘show don’t tell’ ideology that accompanies a lot of art and for this they should be truly commended.

This is truly unlike almost every other graphic novel I have ever read. There are other ‘textless’ stories that I have had the joy to experience but most take a slightly more jovial tone. Here we have a deceptively deep story that is lined with powerful emotion. The fact that the story is set around a fox does not affect the power in the slightest, it anything it enhances it.

Throughout this review I’ve wondered if the term ‘reading’ is appropriate for how you experience this book. Should it be viewing? This is one of the things I find utterly fascinating with books like this. You can argue that you read a piece of art as you are ultimately ‘reading’ into what the artist wants you to find. But at the same time you are viewing it as there is no text.

Be it reading, viewing or both, this is an amazing book and one that I feel everyone should give a chance. It’s different from so many different angles and for this many may feel hesitant to giving it a shot, but I urge everyone to do so. This is easily one of the most emotionally charged books I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Give it a try and see what you think.