A Fine Day

Helmer Thomas Arslan refines the idea that "each day is a little life" with serene confidence in "A Fine Day," a concise and intuitive tale of one young woman's inarticulated restlessness that completes the filmmaker's promised trilogy on the trials and tribulations of German-born Turks in contempo Berlin.

With:
With: Serpil Turhan, Bilge Bingul, Florian Stetter, Seida Kaya, Hafize Uner, Hanns Zischler, Elke Schmitter. (German and Turkish dialogue.)

In one of his rare sunnier moments, famously dour German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer proclaimed “each day is a little life.” Helmer Thomas Arslan refines this idea with serene confidence in “A Fine Day,” concise and intuitive tale of one young woman’s inarticulated restlessness that completes the filmmaker’s promised trilogy on the trials and tribulations of German-born Turks in contempo Berlin. A sure thing for fests (more ambitious of which may want to tackle the manageable trio), pic could also find choice bookings anywhere an Eric Rohmer-ish approach to literate storytelling and psychological insight is appreciated.

Waking up in b.f.’s Kreuzberg flat one summer morning, regally placid 21-year-old out-of-work actress Deniz (Serpil Turhan) begins impassively to change her life. After sesh as foreign film dubber (they’re in the midst of looping Rohmer’s “A Summer’s Tale,” natch), she promptly breaks up with the hapless Jan (Florian Stetter) after an argument in a cafe and a leisurely walk.

Auditioning for a director (Hanns Zischler), she describes a good film she’s seen lately but can’t remember its title. Pic sounds suspiciously like Maurice Pialat’s 1983 drama “A nous amours” (To Our Loves).

As she moves from one appointment to the next, Deniz begins a casual game of cat-and-mouse in the Berlin underground with the mysterious Diego (Bilge Bingul), with whom she ends up spending an innocent evening.

The next morning in a cafe, the wanderer receives some chance wisdom from an academic (Elke Schmitter) to begin another fine new day.

Pic is strewn with gentlest of ironies and coincidences. Perhaps most refreshingly, the confrontations are those of the heart and not the skin, suggesting that Arslan has moved beyond the genre-fueled concerns of conflict to a level where people struggle not with their race, but with their very existence.

Mood is marred only by the climactic cafe counseling, which feels somewhat glib and pat after the delicacy of what’s come before.

Tech credits are crystalline, with many of Arslan’s key team from “Siblings” (1997) and “Dealer” (1999) returning to capture a geographically correct summertime Berlin in full flower, mysterious yet peaceful.

A Fine Day

Germany

Production: A Pickpocket, Zero Film, ZDF production, in association with Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg. (International sales: Zero Film, Berlin.) Produced by Thomas Arslan, Martin Hagemann. Directed, written by Thomas Arslan.

Crew: Camera (color), Michael Wiesweg; editor, Bettina Blickwede; music, Selda Kaya & shape:mod, Morton Feldman, Saul Williams; art director, Ulrika Anderson; costumes, Anette Guther; sound, Martin Steyer. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum of New Cinema), Feb. 12, 2001. Running time: 74 MIN.

With: With: Serpil Turhan, Bilge Bingul, Florian Stetter, Seida Kaya, Hafize Uner, Hanns Zischler, Elke Schmitter. (German and Turkish dialogue.)

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