Effectively elusive, "The Red Spot" is an ultimately inscrutable drama about reconciling the past by disturbing the present. Helmer Marie Miyayama's debut feature prefers silent glances to dialogue and seems fascinated by the minutiae of family, resulting in a German film with a distinctly Japanese feel.

Effectively elusive, “The Red Spot” is an ultimately inscrutable drama about reconciling the past by disturbing the present. Helmer Marie Miyayama’s debut feature prefers silent glances to dialogue and seems fascinated by the minutiae of family, resulting in a German film with a distinctly Japanese feel. Minimalism impedes the story, however, with low-key thesping that holds the viewer at arm’s length. Almost too sophisticated for mainstream arthouse auds, the pic will find fest defenders and tube takers.

Twenty-one-year old Japanese college student Aki Onodera (Yuki Inomata) is becoming increasingly distracted by questions surrounding the deaths of her parents and baby brother in an auto accident in Germany some 18 years earlier. Finding a box of keepsakes that includes a map of Bavaria, she embarks on a voyage of discovery and reconciliation. Once in picturesque East Allgaeu, she becomes ensnared in the generational friction between delinquent 18-year-old Elias Weber (Orlando Klaus) and his timid father, Johannes (Hans Kremer). Unbeknownst to all, the Onoderas and the Webers have met before. Tech package is fine, led by Miyayama’s own delicate editing and Oliver Sachs’ widescreen compositions.

The Red Spot

Germany

Production

A Munich Film Works production, in association with Chase Film Intl. Produced by Martin Blankmeyer, Miyako Sonoki. Directed, edited by Marie Miyayama. Screenplay, Miyayama, Christoph Tomkewitsch.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-35mm, widescreen), Oliver Sachs; music, Helmut Sinz; production designer, Gabriele Mai; costume designer, Stefanie Ramb. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (First Films, competing), Aug. 29, 2008. Original title: Der rote punkt. English, Japanese, German dialogue. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Yuki Inomata, Hans Kremer, Orlando Klaus.
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