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Lightmaker

An excruciatingly amateurish, profoundly naive cross between bargain-basement Terry Gilliam and a primitive musicvideo, misbegotten brainchild of Yello lyricist/vocalist Dieter Meier purports to tell a life-affirming and whimsical tale set in a carnival-like underground kingdom but is instead buried by its own perfunctory artistic illusions.

Vanity, thy name is “Lightmaker.” An excruciatingly amateurish, profoundly naive cross between bargain-basement Terry Gilliam and a primitive longform musicvideo, misbegotten brainchild of Yello lyricist/vocalist Dieter Meier purports to tell a life-affirming and whimsical tale set in a carnival-like underground kingdom but is instead buried by its own perfunctory artistic illusions. Theatrical prospects for this Poland-shot, Eurodisco spin on Lewis Carroll are far-fetched, with life as dusty vid or latenight tube fodder most likely.

Story involves rumpled New York violinist Rumo (Zbigniew Zamachowski) lured to subterranean realm by the promise of the lovely but mute Mira (Cornelia Grolimund), daughter of kingdom’s ruler Duke Osso (Rod Steiger). Once there he discovers plot engineered by Osso’s jester Balthasar (Meier) to re-ignite a huge life-giving crystal with rejuvenative power of music. Chaos ensues, engineered by Osso’s wife Hera (Malgorzata Potocka). Tech credits are dismal, with over-caffeinated camera, rapid-fire editing, poor dubbing and heavy reverb on nearly everyone’s voices while underground. Steiger, who appears only as a disembodied head, intones floridly while rubbing his bald pate in a passable imitation of “Apocalypse Now”-era Brando, while Meier mugs shamelessly throughout. The horror, the horror.

Lightmaker

U.S.-Switzerland

  • Production: A Yello Music & Motion Pictures, in association with Pyramid Prods., M.M. Potocka Prods. and Frenetic Films, presentation of a Yello Music & Motion Pictures production. (International sales: Yello Music & Motion Pictures, L.A.) Produced by Dieter Meier, Edward Oleschak. Executive producers, Andrzej Gutowski, Malgorzata Potocka, Peter Vitzthum. Directed by Dieter Meier. Screenplay by Rozanne Charbonneau, Larry Arrick, from an idea by Meier.
  • Crew: Camera (color, B&W), Przemyslaw Skwirczynski; editor, Adam Bernardi; music, Christopher Beck, Yello; songs, Boris Blank; production designer, Ines Boesch; sound (Dolby Digital), Martin Kloiber. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 9, 2001. Running time: 87 MIN.
  • With: <B>With:</B> Zbigniew Zamachowski, Cornelia Grolimund, Dieter Meier, Malgorzata Potocka, Rod Steiger, Johnny Melville.
  • Music By: