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Over the Rainbow

Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego's "Over the Rainbow" is a resolutely edgy piece that takes the writer-helmer into psychological and stylistic areas where few Spanish directors venture. The story of the mental decline of an obsessive, video-wielding man, pic, shot entirely on DV, ranges from the hilarious to the disturbing. Fests and cult ancillary beckon.

With:
With: Luis Callejo, Isabelle Stoffel, Emily Behr, Martha Fessehatzion, J.F. Sebastian.

Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s sophomore effort, the startling “Over the Rainbow,” follows his multiple prize-winning “Nomads,” and like its precursor is a resolutely edgy piece that takes the writer-helmer into psychological and stylistic areas where few Spanish directors venture. The story of the mental decline of an obsessive, video-wielding young man, this challenging pic, shot entirely on DV, ranges from the hilarious to the disturbing, with its winsome, scruffy hero and unlikely coherence just about preventing it from lapsing into pretentiousness. Fests and cult ancillary beckon.

A guy who calls himself Ludwig (Luis Callejo) buys a video camera, heads for chilly Berlin, and threatens “I’m going to make a film. My film.” Everything viewers see from here on is what he records. He flirts with a Bulgarian maid, has his camera stolen, videos pretty girls from a distance, falls for a prostitute (Martha Fessehatzion), starts thinking about his camera as a person, reflects on suicide, gets drunk and weeps.

By the time Ludwig starts joking that he’s like the protagonist of “American Psycho,” it’s clear things are on a slow slide to moral oblivion. Ludwig meets French students Rosalie (Isabelle Stoffel) and Sophie (Emily Behr) in a bar and asks them if they’d like to be killed in a movie he’s making.

The line between truth and fiction is continually broached, to no particular end — some of the characters are real (such as composer J.F. Sebastian), but others are thesps. Inevitably, it all feels a bit random and repetitious, but real life seeps strikingly through in the grainy, urban atmospherics and eye-catching details (a price sticker on the sole of a shoe, a half-eaten meal).

Technically, pic plays just about every game possible by one man and a camera. However, the sheer amount of camera movement and the refusal to use lighting start become tiresome after an hour.

Melancholy strumming and depressive lyrics from Sebastian provide an appropriate aural backdrop, particularly his evocative cover of Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly.” Though Ludwig’s narration to the camera is basically in Spanish, pic features a variety of different languages.

Over the Rainbow

Spain

Production: A CLG Media PC/Pentagrama Films production. (International sales: Pentagrama, Madrid.) Produced by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, Juan Ibanez, Jose Ibanez. Directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego. Screenplay, Lopez-Gallego, Jose David Montero.

Crew: Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Montero; editor, Lopez-Gallego; music, J.F. Sebastian; sound (Dolby Digital), Wildtrack. Reviewed at Malaga Festival (competing), May 1, 2003. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Luis Callejo, Isabelle Stoffel, Emily Behr, Martha Fessehatzion, J.F. Sebastian.

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