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Dead Man’s Memories

The sort of Euro production that insists on lapsing into ill-advised English, "Dead Man's Memories" is a dour, sluggish whodunit that doesn't deliver the goods. Pic may flesh out some fest slates and get tube play, but subsequently won't linger in the mind.

With:
With: Sylvie Testud, Miguel Guilherme, Klaus Pohl, Ana Bustorf, Rita Blanco, Rebecca Silva, Antonio Cerdeira.

The sort of Euro production that insists on lapsing into ill-advised English, “Dead Man’s Memories” is a dour, sluggish whodunit that doesn’t deliver the goods. Pic may flesh out some fest slates and get tube play, but subsequently won’t linger in the mind.

As mysterious Viennese music student Alice (prolific Sylvie Testud, from “Beyond Silence” and “I’m Going Home”) wanders furtively around Lisbon, divorced and jaded detective Pinto (Miguel Guilherme) is interrupted from having sweets with his daughter on a beach west of town by the appearance of the body of dead archeologist Hans (Klaus Pohl). During a series of interrogations involving some cryptic camcorder footage, an elaborate scheme gradually unravels. Helmer Markus Heltschl is clearly in search of a weary, hardboiled, existential vibe, and for awhile pic unfolds with provocative moodiness. But the moment Pinto and Alice shift into English, such howlers as “I must have been fallen asleep” and “throw him down cliff” instantly dissipate the mood. Tech credits are OK; Karlovy Vary documentation claims pic was shot in accordance with Dogme 95 rules, but it clearly wasn’t.

Dead Man's Memories

Austria - Germany

Production: A TTV Film (Vienna)/Innsbruck, Agora Film (Munich) production. (International sales: Austrian Film Commission, Vienna.) Produced by Christian Berger, Susanne Schlaepfer. Directed, written, edited by Markus Heltschl.

Crew: Camera (color) Christian Berger; music, Michael Galasso, Anouar Brahem, Arnold Schoenberg. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (competing), July 5, 2003. German, English, Portuguese dialogue. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Sylvie Testud, Miguel Guilherme, Klaus Pohl, Ana Bustorf, Rita Blanco, Rebecca Silva, Antonio Cerdeira.

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