Four Windows

It's curtains for "Four Windows," a strongly thesped but determinedly opaque family drama that reps a dour slice of Teuton angst. Navel-gazing fests may respond to long takes of the cast by celebrated d.p. Juergen Juerges (Michael Haneke's "Funny Games"), but commercial outlook is cloudy.

With:
With: Margarita Broich, Frank Droese, Thorsten Merten, Theresa Scholze.

It’s curtains for “Four Windows,” a strongly thesped but determinedly opaque family drama that reps a dour slice of Teuton angst. Navel-gazing fests may respond to long takes of the cast by celebrated d.p. Juergen Juerges (Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games”), but commercial outlook is cloudy.

Divided into four acts loosely keyed to each character, pic gazes at the largely inscrutable interrelationships between protags known only as Mother (Margarita Broich, “Wolfsburg”), Son (Frank Droese, “alaske.de”), Father (Thorsten Merten, “Grill Point”) and Daughter (Theresa Scholze, “Night Express”). Dad is uncertain, mom is high-strung, Sonny is sexually confused and his sib is angry. Scholze and Broich make the most of virtually non-existent motivations, with the best scene finding them clinging together at a pub. Debuting writer-helmer Christian Moris Mueller has a clear view of his goal to do away with verbal narrative in favor of uninterrupted shots and facial close-ups. Yet the over-arching metaphor of windows — and seeing — while interesting, is hardly new. Tech credits are rigorous and spare in pursuit of visual inertia.

Four Windows

Germany

Production: A schlicht und ergreifend production. (International sales: schlicht und ergreifend, Munich.) Produced by Philipp Budweg. Executive producer, Katharina Herrmann. Directed, written by Christian Moris Mueller.

Crew: Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Juergen Juerges; editor, Maja Stieghorst; music, Chandra Fleig, Annette Focks; production designer, Thomas Molt; costume designer, Viola Voelk. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Perspective Deutsches Kino), Feb. 15, 2006. Running time: 82 MIN.

With: With: Margarita Broich, Frank Droese, Thorsten Merten, Theresa Scholze.

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