Review: ‘Home Truths’

A blackly comic thriller in which the home invasion of a GDR-era summer cottage takes a series of unexpected twists, "Home Truths" reps a solid second feature for commercial and shorts helmer Carsten Fiebeler. Fests looking for something unusual from Germany will take note, with specialized theatrical possible before decent ancillary.

A blackly comic thriller in which the home invasion of a GDR-era summer cottage takes a series of unexpected twists, “Home Truths” reps a solid second feature for commercial and shorts helmer Carsten Fiebeler. Fests looking for something unusual from Germany will take note, with specialized theatrical possible before decent ancillary.

During the last night in their East German country bungalow before the sale on which they disagree, childless couple Elke and Arnold (Catherine Flemming, Michael Kind) are surprised by a pair of thieves (Uwe Kockisch, Nils Nellessen), who ransack the house, tie up the pair and flee in their car. Elke’s bright idea to milk the robbery for the insurance money is interrupted by the return of the bad guys, which in turn prompts a night and early morning of funny games. Fiebeler sustains a satisfyingly quirky mood throughout, referencing such pics as “Blood Simple,” “Straw Dogs,” “Panic Room” and even “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Perfs are crafty. Tech package appears competent, though Montreal fest presentation was hampered by letterboxed vid projection, which obscured details. Clever English title wasn’t actually on tape; literal translation of “die datsche” is “the cottage.”

Home Truths

Germany

Production

An Equinox Film production, in association with MDR, Koppmedia. (International sales: Equinox Film, Leipzig.) Produced by Sabine Manthey, Bernhard Koellisch. Directed by Carsten Fiebeler. Screenplay, Fiebeler, Ulv Jakobsen, from Jakobsen's novel "Keine Benegung."

Crew

Camera (color, HDCam-to-35mm), Erik Krambeck; editor, Christian Nauheimer; music, Tarwater; art director, Steffen Gnade. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (World Cinema: Reflections of Our Time), Sept. 2, 2002. German dialogue. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Catherine Flemming, Michael Kind, Uwe Kockisch, Nils Nellessen.
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