The first film invited to the 1998 London Film Festival, Kelemen's stark epic presently looks like the cinema's latest lost cause: its producer refuses Kelemen access to his negative, and the director's own cutting copy, while it lasts, is all that can be screened. A mammoth, excoriating vision of a barren, forbidding German geography, it is variously reminiscent of Fassbinder, Sokurov, Angelopoulos and sundry young French realists, yet for the most part it's a singular, unforgettable experience. The story is deceptively simple - mother and son leave her abusive partner at Christmas and trudge toward New Year across interminably empty vistas in search of her East German childhood home. At half the length the film would be entirely accessible. As it is, the camera's endless gaze and grindingly cyclical narrative test patience to the absolute limit.
Cast and crew