If you read the word trilogy and immediately think Star Wars, prepare yourself: something new is on your horizon.
The Dreileben Trilogy bares more of a resemblance to Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colors Trilogy than it does to George Lucas’s films. The three movies — Beats Being Dead, Don’t Follow Me Around and One Minute of Darkness — are set in the same east German hinterland; however, the movie’s separate plots are only loosely connected.
Beats Being Dead is about a boy and a girl. The boy is a student of medicine (ambitious but lonely) and the girl is a hotel maid with the temper of a hydrogen bomb. The two meet after suffering at the hands of a bike gang; they kiss and fight, sleep together and argue; and their relationship tumbles on in the foreground of a backdrop that spans all three movies — a killer is on the loose!
The boy above actually lets the killer out of the hospital, and this killer becomes the most interesting player in the trilogy. At times, he is the camera, moving like an animal about the countryside. Sometimes he’s a ghost, hovering about houses and windowpanes. Sometimes he’s a man-child, a son, a friend. Sometimes he’s a classic psycho, complete with the exclamation mark of an up-turned butcher knife.
(I’ll skip over the second movie, Don’t Follow Me Around, because I found it the lesser of the three.)
The third, as you would hope, is the most engaging; One Minute of Darkness is a murder mystery. This is where the hunt for the killer leads a detective to question whether or not the killer actually killed anyone. This third film artfully shows how the alleged killer was everything listed above — an animal, a ghost, a son, a psycho — while keeping you on your toes.
However, you have to see the first movie (and the second, I guess) to enjoy the whodunit of the third. Although they are only loosely related, the movies support each other, like a spiderweb, creating a pretty architecture.
The film’s loose fabric is both appealing and unsatisfying. While the trilogy tends to keep you guessing, it only reluctantly answers what you’re interested in knowing. Over the course of five hours, there’s certainly plenty of time for a viewer to get worn out.
At their best, the movies are surprising and mature, resembling some of my favorites in “arthouse” cinema, like Kieślowski’s Short Film About Love. But the problem is: they aren’t always at their best.
Beats Being Dead plays at 5:30 p.m.
Don’t Follow Me Around plays at 7:20 p.m.
One Minute of Darkness plays at 9:10 p.m.
Other Highlights: Wednesday, May 2
Occupy the farm! That’s what one Swedish woman, Britt, is doing in the documentary Women With Cows. She’s trying to perverse her family farm, and she’s willing to risk her life in the process. However, there’s trouble in the family. (Women With Cows plays at 4:30 p.m.)
Turn me On, Dammit! is one of those awkward/funny movies about growing up. In this case, Alma comes of age to find that her sexual needs are much more demanding than those of her peers. To help deal with her new-found desires, she calls sex phone lines and … has at it. Although her family and friends find her behavior odd, embarrassing and immoral, Alma embraces the girl into which she blossoms. (Turn me On, Dammit! plays at 7:45 p.m.)
What better way to end a Wednesday than to watch a movie about a hitman who wakes up after a contract goes pear-shaped to find that his visions is inverted. Sound confusing? It seems like Headshot is supposed to be. But this thriller has won awards in both Hong Kong and Berlin. (Headshot plays at 9:45 p.m.)
For more of the WCCO Movie Blog’s coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.