four minutes

All 112 of Four Minutes kept me on the edge of my seat. If it wasn’t the playing out of the relationship between the two female characters, it was the development of the plots and sub-plots, or the powerful music.

In German with subtitles, it is the frenetic story of the relationship between an 80-year old piano treacher, Frau Krüger, who has taught at the women’s penitentiary since the Nazis, and inmate Jenny von Loeben who is given to bouts of violence. Both teacher and student are strong willed, and through their emotionally charged relationship we get to view both their history and personal stories.

The film is best viewed in a venue that does the music justice. Fortunately, there was no wind at the Somerville so the sound was quite good. If you enjoy the piano, both classical and jazz (or ‘negro music’ as Kruger calls it in the film), it is definitely worth seeing just for that.

While I found some of the scenes disturbing, in the context of the film there is some balance and flow that allowed me to resolve these issues while watching. I do not understand German, so needed the English subtitles, and found that reading the ‘c’ word is definitely more in your face than hearing it.

The characters, story and music are powerful, and certainly the 112 film minutes went quickly. If I am thinking of a film for days after, then I feel that it is a good film – I’m still thinking about it, and I agree with the favourable comments on At the Movies, rather than David Stratton’s lukewarm review.

This was the first festival film that we got organised to get to and from on our bikes. What I have learnt is that I don’t need so many ice blocks, as we ride there and eat our picnic pretty well straight away. Also, the esky in my rear basket was heavy enough to give my bike the wobbles so I had to be careful when turning. The champagne did not sigh when opened, but neither did it pop so it couldn’t of been to bad a ride 🙂

If you get to see the film, I would be interested to know the name of the piece that Jenny played in her four minutes of fame. Through and the film (German) web site I have read that the composer is Annette Focks.


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