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Review: Winter Sleepers-Wintersleepers (1997)

Directed by: Tom Tykwer | 122 minutes | drama, thriller, romance | Actors: Ulrich Matthes, Marie-Lou Sellem, Floriane Daniel, Heino Ferch, Josef Bierbichler, Agathe Taffertshofer, Sophia Dirscherl, Laura Tonke, Sebastian Schipper, Werner Schnitzer, Saskia Vester, Robert Meyer

“Winterschläfer” is a gripping film about five different people whose lives, sometimes without realizing it, become linked by an accident. Rene (Ulrich Matthes), an employee of the local cinema, steals a car and gets involved in a car accident. The other person involved, Theo (Josef Bierbichler), is a farmer who is taking his horse to the vet. His daughter has crawled unnoticed into the trailer with the horse and falls into a critical condition due to the accident. The stolen car turns out to belong to Marco, the partner of translator Rebecca. Marco is a ski instructor and very possessive towards Rebecca (Floriane Daniel), and that while he also has several affairs himself. Rebecca lives in the house of Laura (Marie-Lou Sellem). Laura is a nurse in the hospital and takes on the responsibility of nursing the injured people in the accident. The above scenario sounds quite complicated, but the story is not difficult to follow while watching. The story is even quite flat and never manages to strike an emotional chord.

The visual aspects are what “Winterschläfer” needs to do. Your interpretation is played with by giving each character its own “color” that matches their personality. For example, the fiery Rebecca always wears red, the somewhat more even and peaceful Laura and the self-centered and expressive Marco blue clothes. Director later delivered two pearls of films with “Lola Rennt” and “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”, which also did more justice to the story. With “Winterschläfer”, however, he tells a very cool and unimpressive story in which intense themes such as accidents, death, love and betrayal occur.

Still, “Winterschläfer” is certainly an interesting film that will keep your attention. Because although the storylines come together very easily at the end only under the heading “coincidence”, the film remains fascinating. Visually, the film stimulates your senses, the camera doesn’t seem to stand still for a moment and pops up from many surprising angles. In addition, the use of color is overwhelming and the images pop off the screen. These aspects, together with the compelling music, manage to create a dreamy atmosphere, making the film fascinating to watch despite the flat story.

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