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Original Bliss: A powerful psychological drama

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- KARLOVY VARY 2016: The new film by German director Sven Taddicken, presented in competition at Karlovy Vary, gives an insight into the spiritual abyss

Review

After his adventurous foray into the pirate-film genre with 12 Paces Without a Head [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, in his latest drama, Original Bliss [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Sven Taddicken
film profile
]
, in competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, German writer-director Sven Taddicken addresses issues such as unusual romantic encounters, as well as discovering one’s sexuality. While his debut feature, Getting My Brother Laid, was about an intellectually disabled young man who was looking forward to having his first sexual encounter, in his romantic tragicomedy Emma’s Bliss [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Taddicken focused on the touching love story between a pig breeder and a terminally ill man.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)Cine Iberoamericano Int

Relationships, religion and sex are also key topics in Original Bliss, which starts to unfold through a profound discussion between a middle-aged couple at the dinner table. While the wife is depressed that she has lost her connection to God, her husband gets increasingly aggressive and ends up beating her up so brutally that she needs medical treatment. Lead actress Martina Gedeck (The Lives of Others [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Florian Henckel von Donners…
interview: Ulrich Muehe
film profile
]
, Night Train to Lisbon [+see also:
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trailer
making of
film profile
]
) takes the blows devoid of any emotion, while Austrian actor Johannes Krisch (Revanche [+see also:
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trailer
film focus
interview: Götz Spielmann
film profile
]
Labyrinth of Lies [+see also:
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trailer
making of
interview: Giulio Ricciarelli
interview: Giulio Ricciarelli
film profile
]
) spirals into a violent fit of rage.

But the housewife is quite hopeful that she will find the key to her liberation by contacting a renowned psychologist, who seems to know the secret of the formula for happiness. Despite the fact that their first encounter is somewhat unfulfilling, a subtle attraction starts to blossom between the contrasting characters. In this role-playing game, there is a constant switching: who is it that actually needs more help from the other? While the woman is suffering because of her loss of faith and her broken marriage, the brilliant brain researcher has his own problems to deal with. Completely obsessed with pornographic images, his mind is fixated on a sexual vision that determines his everyday life.

DoP Daniela Knapp, who already worked with Taddicken on Emma’s Bliss and 12 Paces Without a Head, chose colour concepts with dark tones for the home of the unhappy couple, while life seems more joyful and vibrant whenever the wife leaves the house.

Based on the short story of the same name by Scottish author Alison Louise Kennedy, on the surface, the film adaptation of Original Bliss shows a glimpse into the spiritual abyss in humans, which can result from a lack of love and a longing for lust, but also anxiety, jealousy and desperation. Apparently devastated without any spiritual guidance, the main character makes a psychological and physical exertion over the course of the story while learning a life lesson – a journey that is portrayed extremely convincingly by German actress Gedeck.

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international title: Original Bliss
original title: Gleissendes Glück
country: Germany
sales agent: Picture Tree International
year: 2016
directed by: Sven Taddicken
screenplay: Sven Taddicken, Stefanie Veith, Hendrik Hölzemann
cast: Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Tukur, Johannes Krisch, Hans-Michael Rehberg

main awards/selection

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2016 
Zurich Film Festival 2016 
Busan International Film Festival 2016 
cinando

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