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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

entry arrow12:57 PM | Adventures in Caricatures and Blind Direction in a Story of a Regatta

Marco Kreuzpaintner's Sommersturm [Summer Storm, 2004] is an illustration of two persistent (but certainly not new) ideas: that art's potential greatness lies in the execution more than the message (how very Jose Garcia Villa), and that (as a refinement of the previous), if there must be message, a certainty of that message is required, or else we lose interest. I simply cannot care for the haphazard, for the hodge-podge, especially if the mess is not the message. Here is a story, for example, of a young German boy named Tobi [the uninteresting Robert Standlober, who lacks gravitas]. He is the captain of a rowing crew, and he is secretly enamored by his best friend and teammate Achim [the underused but superb Kostja Ullman]. It is all secret ache and hetero bluffing, with Tobi eventually flirting around with another teammate named Anke [Alicja Bachleda-Curuƛ] -- until the team finally heads out to the German countryside to train and compete in a rowing regatta for the summer. A gay rowing team arrives and soon begins stirring the simmering sexual tension growing in a camp full of teenage hormones -- soon forcing Tobi to confront his sexuality and attraction towards Achim, all against the backdrop of the titular sudden summer storm. In summary, the narrative seems tidy, but Kreuzpaintner, working from a script co-written by Thomas Bahmann, barges into this story with the sense of direction of a blind man. He creates caricatures out of both gays and straights, dives into meaningless subplots (the flirtation between the rowing coaches), and indulges into senseless mise-en-scenes (the elaborately-staged sex scene between Achim and his girlfriend Sandra, in a quaintly grassy part of the forest, at night, in the middle of a search for a lost camper, in the middle of a storm). Everyone is a stock and flat stereotype supposedly to telegraph the message more -- but what message? That homophobia is common and can only be cured by association with gay men? That unrequited love hurts, and it is foolish to fall in love with your straight best friend? That it is wrong to treat a girl as a mustache? That camaraderie is won by denial? That it is easy to forgive and forget just because the film is ending? Any one of these can be made into an interesting film, and in fact, has been. Not in this film, though. This is a film where everything is spoonfed to you -- yet everything still does not make sense for some reason. There is no shred of human reality in this film. This is a complete and utter waste of time.

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