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"princess and the warrior" (2000) - tom tykwer
posted on 5-Mar-2002 by anton

princess and the warrior (der krieger + die kaiserin) by tom tykwer enlists chance as the driving force behind all the major events in this film, every single little details is a part of the unfolding story, it has its place that will be revealed later when it all clicks and fits together like pieces of a puzzle.

take run lola run - the chance there was idolized, used as a plot device, but it never was subtle as it is here. in this respect it is closer to red by kieslowski - one of my all time favorites. red was a masterpiece, a story where each detail was not to be overlooked, where everything seemed to be so random, but in the end every little fact made sense, completing the director's vision.

I liked the roughness of characters - absence of sickening hollywood gloss that many see as the "true" reality, the illusion that became recognizable "american style". none of the characters are perfect - from pores on bodo's face, to dirty fingernails of sissi, and yet there was a touch of an artist, where those elements are subtle enough, enhancing the story.

sissi, franka potente's character is almost unbelievably awkward - her strange walk, full of unreleased tension, long lingering moments, when camera closes up on her face. despite this seeming immobility, in the end her characters appears to be full of emotions, one falls for it gradually, following her awkward walk and those dark, dark eyes.

the film has a few gripping, incredible moments that alone make it worth watching. take the scene where sissi's life is saved; this scene alone has such an incredible, violent tenderness. the camera alternates between her and bodo's eyes, with the sucking sounds made by the straw so perfectly clear in complete silence of the audience. it is a perfect moment, incredibly moving, a moment of beauty, brutal realism, where every detail imprints itself in your memory - close-ups of their faces, her dirty fingernails, the blood bubbling in her throat.

I liked the pace of the movie, a striking contrast with run lola run, it has those long slow shots, those close-ups and nicely composed scenes that never reek of intentional "artsiness," but are done tastefully, reminding of a framed photograph.

it would be appropriate to mention the soundtrack, seemingly disharmonic piano, strings, enhancing disturbing tension, and fading away, leaving a ringing silence.

I am still not sure about the ending, trying to grasp my feeling about it. it escapes many clichés plaguing modern cinematography, turning to violence or character's strangely calm behavior, or just oversimplifying, cutting corners (I suppose you can call it a director's distinct style, for better or worse) when you would expect a familiar sequence of events. overall it is a very nice picture, gritty, a little stylized, at times very poetic, with a story where coincidence is used nicely by the writer. it is not as flashy and slick as run lola run, but has many beautifully composed shots, an eye candy offered with taste and elegance.

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