Hounds

Movies
This highly promising debut from writer-director Reyels set in the snowy backwoods of North East Germany at Christmas draws excellent performances, prime among them Von Jascheroff's as the open-natured and mature 16-year-old Lars contending with not only a new life and local bullies but also a fracturing, recently-separated, father; Luise Berndt's as his sweet, mute girlriend, Marie; and Sven Lehman's as Marie's taciturn father who not only shoots Lars's beloved dog but who selfishly and self-protectively sets up unreasonable opposition to Lars'sย  gentle, developing relationship with his daughter. Good cinematography, keen observation and understanding of character, subtle pacing and distinctive direction (notably in an dinner-table set-piece of discomforted looks and glances), complemented by an organic, discreet use of symbolism (notably of animals, wild or domestic) and a pleasing lack of over-emphasis are let down onlyย  by a possibly unneccessary โ€“ and unnecessarily ambiguous โ€“ ending replacing a needed, sadly missing, third act.

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Cast and crew

Director:
Ann-Kristin Reyels
Screenwriter:
Ann-Kristin Reyels
Cast:
Luise Berndt
Josef Hader
Constantin von Jascheroff