Opening 4 Dec 2014
I had the honor of going to the opening of Von Mädchen und Pferden. The director, Monika Treut, cinematographer Birgit Möller, and some of the cast members were all there and the theater had a bit of a buzz, although it was not sold out. Ms. Treut briefly introduced the film and told us that it was a “slow film” with little dialog, but beautiful pictures. She was right, but I kept expecting something more. I kept expecting a tragedy to occur or some type of action, but in the end, little happened. Yes, the girls and the horses fell in love and perhaps Alex, the 16-year-old dropout portrayed by Ceci Chuh, was healed, but wasn’t the combine harvester going to harm someone? Wasn’t a tragedy going to happen? Not in Slow Cinema.
The performances were wonderfully subtle, and Ms. Chuh played the sullen teenager to perfection. Vanida Karun also gave a brave and revealing performance as Nina, a 30-something lesbian, horse lover and Alex’s teacher. While I appreciated the organic performances which utilized little scripted dialog, there were times when I felt that the actresses were forcing the action, unclear of their motivations or purpose. This didn’t detract from the story very much and overall, the look of the film was truly beautiful. Ms. Möller’s shots of sunsets, rainbows, storm clouds and sea shores made me want to see the North Sea. It will, however, take me some time before I have exorcised New York’s frenetic pace enough to fully appreciate Slow Cinema. (Laura Langford)