Winter Journey: The energy of despair
by Anne Feuillère
Winter Journey [+see also:
film profile], the second theatrical feature by German director Hans Steinbichler – winner of several awards, nominated at the German Lolas and selected last year at Karlovy Vary – is one of the films being presented in official competition at the 5th Brussels European Film Festival (June 29-July 7).
While its story leaves many questions unanswered, through its visionary narration Winter Journey shows audacity and strong aesthetic force. Like Schubert’s Winter Journey, it recounts the inexorable approach towards death and the accompanying loneliness and despair. Crepuscular and tense scenes accompany the escape of a man struggling with his destiny.
Franz Brenninger is a successful industrialist, who walks in the world like on conquered territory. But now on the verge of failure, he has one last shot at poker and ends up involved in a scam that leads him to Kenya. A tyrant, crazy or depressed, Brenninger is above all a character struggling with his own destiny, trying to escape his fall.
At times downcast, at others exalted, the great and imposing Josef Bierbichler (Werner Herzog’s Heart of Glass), reminiscent in his crazy grandeur of an Aguirre or a Fitzcarraldo, lends to his character the unassailable energy of a body possessed by anger, a useless revolt.
Produced by Dieter Ulrich Aselmann and Robert Marciniak for d.i.e.film.gmbh, Winter Journey is a co-production with Austrian outfit Wega Film and BR Bayerischer Rundfunk. Backed by FFF Bayern, the FFA, the Austrian Film Institute, the BKM and Media Plus, Winter Journey is being sold internationally by Beta Cinema. The film has yet to find a Belgian distributor.
(Translated from French)
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