Projections - Movie Reviews



If you're into Tuvalu you must be into highly visual surreal film making.  Viet Helmer shows a directorial prowess that fellow German colleague Tom Tykwer would applaud.

This Bulgarian-set film taps into the artistry of the silent-film era and eclectic sensibilities on display in some of the cult favorites of Dave Lynch and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie).  One is oddly drawn into the character of Anton through Dennis Lavant's remarkable homage to likes of Chaplin and Keaton as Tuvalu is pretty much a delightful whimsy into sight and sound with snippets of multi-lingual dialogue.

Anton is the jaded on-the-spot fixer-upper as he is an attendant in the bathhouse owned by his blind father.  A plaster block lands on an unsuspecting person and Helmer makes the most fancifully amusing situations out of the difficulties arising from Anton's handling of a whistling, chiming pump which doesn't operate sufficiently.

Patrons get in mostly with buttons and see Anton's father acting like a lifeguard.  A busy beach atmosphere is heard as a recording is played for those in the eroding shower structure.

Amidst the eccentric diversions, Tuvalu has important encounters for Anton in his weird, soon-to-be demolished workplace.  His brother, Gregor, an avaricious Terrence Gillespie, has his designs on the ramshackle spa.  But the girlish looker, Eva (Chulpan Hamatova), a daughter visiting with her father, will be very welcome as she uses a goldfish bowl to move around the pool.

But, Eva needs what that pump provides to put a static tugboat on a course to Tuvalu, a South Sea island.  Helmer may have a wildly interpretative angle up his sleeve with allusions to identify, or maybe not.  However, one thing is clear, his first film continuously tingles the eye and mind as a fable conveys more than words can say as black and white nimbly sequels to light brown and chilling blues.


Home | Search | Reviewer Bios | Links | Mail Us
Copyright © 2005 Projections