Opening 26 May 2016
Seventeen-year-old Tina (Grenzkow) enjoys a typical teenager’s life. She hangs out with friends at pool parties and dances until the sun comes up. She is pretty, the single child of caring parents. Money is not an issue. All would be perfect if there weren’t for this little monster. Each night Tina wakes up to investigate noises and finds it raiding the refrigerator to satisfy a huge hunger. She screams; help arrives, but no one can see this creature except herself. The obvious cure is a psychiatrist to discuss her “problem.” Even her friends believe that something is seriously wrong. Slowly Tina begins to accept that this vision is real, something with which she will share a lifetime.
German director Akiz (real name Achim Bornhak) graduated from the Baden-Würtenberg film academy where two of his student short films were nominated for Oscars. He is also a talented artist in paintings and sculptures. The creature is a visual effects doll, not some kind of animation. It took Akiz more than 10 years to perfect its moveability, colors, and surface material. It is supposed to be a cross between a very old man and an embryo, although I also see him as something like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Akiz says, “This is not a classic coming-of age film, nor a horror film. It is, rather, deeply psychological as you find in works by Sigmund Freud, William Blake or Wolfgang von Goethe” (specifically Goethe’s ballad Der Erlkönig). Akiz says that Der Nachtmahr is part one in a trilogy which will cover Birth, Love, and Death. The music definitely adds to the story. Kim Gordon, the lead singer of Sonic Youth, sings the cover song and also plays the role of the teacher. (Becky Tan)