Wednesday, 25 June 2008

EIFF: Vogelfrei - Review by Maria Velez-Serna

Directors: Janis Kalejs, Gatis Smits, Janis Putnins, Anna Viduleja
Running Time: 95 mins

Four young Latvian directors prove, with Vogelfrei, that a country doesn't need a film industry in order to make good films. Indeed, if other directors used collaboration more often than competition, maybe this film would not be such a rare wonder. Each of the four segments has its own theme and emotional palette, but they share a way of looking at life, a detailed, distanced yet sensual insight on the interaction between the individual and its surroundings (ie. character and setting). Across one man's lifespan, the film conveys the different flavours of the trance-like state in which we live our lives, letting the events developed, unplanned but perfectly controlled. The film is sober and engaging, and the metaphor suggested by the title - a word rich in ambiguous meanings, related to birds as an image of freedom - makes a second viewing very tempting.

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