Murder mysteries are almost always more fun when their titles seem unpronounceable.

Sennentuntschi is a bizarre Swiss creation that does a horror/mystery twist on the old Pinocchio story. In this case, Pinocchio is a fairy tale she-demon who comes to life after a group of lonely mountain men summon her by stuffing straw into a life-size doll and chanting in Latin. With the beautiful but mute woman suddenly before them, the men then have their way with her. But after three days, this doll – the Sennentuntschi — makes dolls out of her rapists by stuffing their stitched up corpses with straw.

This grim tale, however, is just the cornerstone of the movie. Sennentuntschi constantly jumps between it’s strange plot lines in a way that is both disorientating and impressive. You never quite know what’s going on, and it’s difficult to get a grasp of where you are on the movie’s timeline.

This jumping about makes the movie feel like a TV show. Its pace supports this idea; it never stops to catch its breath. As a result, it’s hard to care for the characters and thus the drama suffers. But the movie does stick up for the dumb (those who can’t speak), who are constantly being picked on and abused by the other characters.

Aside from all the she-demon stuff, the Alps appear, too! And when they do, it’s striking. Their distinct beauty helps with the film’s fairy tale feeling, but it also serves as a visual contrast to the movie’s convoluted story.

Sennentuntschi is directed by Michael Steiner. It plays appropriately at 9:50 p.m. It makes for good late night viewing.

Other Highlights: Monday, April 16

Winter Light is for those with Norse blood. It’s a documentary that seeks to capture life in Norway during a particular time of winter when the sun dips below the horizon and casts vanilla rays up from the earth. (4:45 p.m.)

has nothing to do with the Minnesota discount retailer, but it is a sci-fi satire about a group of wealthy Russians who find the proverbial fountain of youth. (6:30 p.m.)

Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters
is all about the best in Tetris — the guys who’ve been going boss-mode on the classic video game for decades. (9:30 p.m.)


For the festival schedule, and a complete listing of all the movies being shown, click here. Ticket information is available here.

For more of the WCCO Movie Blog’s coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.


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