This is take it or leave it material for fest auds, with commercial prospects as flat as a stick of Doublemint gum.

Anyone wondering what an overdose of quirk and colors might look like without having to resort to drugs would do well to check out “Pepperminta.” The helming debut of Swiss video-art wunderkind Pipilotti Rist rolls some of her favorite themes — female sexuality, childlike curiosity and happiness, and abundant use of vivid hues — into one bombastic, heavily chroma-keyed package. This is take it or leave it material for fest auds, with commercial prospects as flat as a stick of Doublemint gum.

Red-haired protag Pepperminta (Ewelina Guzik) is a modern-day Pippi Longstocking, a youthful, feel-good anarchist whose exuberant cheer would put “Happy-Go-Lucky’s” Poppy to shame. She lives in a low-tech, candy-colored home equipped with a bathtub that doubles as a portal to different waters and a special fridge for the silver cup in which she keeps her menstrual blood. Together with her lover (Sven Pippig) and tomboyish friend (Sabine Timoteo), she tries to brighten up people’s lives. Unafraid of show-stopping interludes, gaudy production design, dizzying camera movements and edits, and omnipresent music, Rist pulls out all the stops. Result will be endearing to some and make others run for the hills.

Pepperminta

Switzerland-Austria

Production

A Hugofilm (Switzerland)/Coop99 (Austria) presentation and production, in association with Schweizer Fernsehen, SRG SSR Idee Suisse, with the participation of ORF Film/Fernsehabkommen, Plan B Film, Hauser & Wirth. (International sales: the Match Factory, Cologne.) Produced by Christian Davi, Christof Neracher, Antonin Svoboda. Directed by Pipilotti Rist. Screenplay, Rist, Chris Niemeyer.

Crew

Camera (color), Pierre Mennel; editor, Gion-Reto Killias; music, Anders Guggisberg, Roland Widmer; production designer, Su Erdt; costume designer, Selina Peyer. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 4, 2009. German dialogue. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Ewelina Guzik, Sven Pippig, Sabine Timoteo, Elisabeth Orth, Noemi Leonhardt, Oliver Akwe.
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