×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Cloud

Puppy love perseveres even as a nuclear reactor meltdown devastates rural Germany in hybrid "what if?" drama "The Cloud." Too intense for the age group of its protags, and too teen-centric for a strictly adult crowd, cautionary anti-nuke pic is just the kind of movie parents should see with their kids -- if kids ever went to the movies with their parents anymore.

With:
With: Paula Kalenberg, Franz Dinda, Hans-Laurin Beyerling, Carina Wiese, Karl Kranzkowski, Richy Mueller, Thomas Wlaschiha, Gabriela Maria Schmeide.

Puppy love perseveres even as a nuclear reactor meltdown devastates rural Germany in hybrid “what if?” drama “The Cloud.” Too intense for the age group of its protags, and too teen-centric for a strictly adult crowd, cautionary anti-nuke pic is just the kind of movie parents should see with their kids — if kids ever went to the movies with their parents anymore. Puzzled locals didn’t know what to make of it either, as the pic’s March 2006 domestic bow was received tepidly. Yet “The Cloud” reps an intriguing selection for fests, public interest orgs and adventurous cablers.

Hannah (Paula Kalenberg) is a normal German 16-year-old from a town north of Frankfurt, exasperated with kid brother Uli (Hans-Laurin Beyerling) and berated for her lack of responsibility by harried single mom Paula (Carina Wiese), who’s off to an out-of-town conference. That’s about to change, though, as the very moment a complex flirtation with hunky 18-year-old school newcomer Elmar (Franz Dinda) leads to a first kiss at school, they literally hears bells — the first alarms indicating a crisis at the nearby Elbersberg nuclear facility.

In the ensuing chaos, Hannah and Elmar are separated, Mom is removed from the picture with some finality, and even little Uli is abruptly and horrifically killed. Pic’s most affecting sequence sees Hannah picked up by a fleeing family, only to be contaminated by fallout from a passing thunderstorm after a train station melee.

Waking up in a makeshift hospital, Hannah’s grief is tempered by the belated appearance of Elmar, who, over the protestations of moneybags dad Albert (Richy Mueller), risks contamination to be with his now-bald g.f. Balance of the pic dwells on their on-again, off-again relationship, ending with a return to the scene of Uli’s death for a proper burial.

Though helmer Gregor Schnitzler rather pedantically wears his anti-nuke sentiments on the pic’s sleeve, he also understands the fine balance of pace and performance necessary to the genre. Scenes of grand-scale civil unrest have a genuinely unsettling verisimilitude, heightened by Michael Mieke’s widescreen lensing and subtle f/x of gathering storm clouds.

Scripter Marco Kreuzpaintner, whose credits include writing and helming nuanced gay teen drama “Summer Storm,” has wisely grafted the love story to author Gudrun Pausewang’s immensely popular and award-winning young adult 1985 novel. Yet this is not a pic for the overly impressionable, as it pulls no punches in portraying disintegration of societal norms. The “all” conquered by these teens’ love encompasses a good bit.

Young Dinda is cut from the Keanu Reeves mold, while Kalenberg’s Hannah manages to connect to an inner reserve almost in spite of herself — and what parent wouldn’t want that? Supporting players are fine, particularly the adults and moppets before and during the station sequence.

Tech package is aces. Closing card cautions that in 2004, hundreds of incidents were reported at Germany’s 17 active power plants. Work won the Bavarian pic prize for best youth film, and has already received domestic DVD release.

The Cloud

Germany

Production: A Concorde Film release (in Germany) of a Herbert G. Kloiber presentation of a Clasart Film production. (International sales: Bavaria Film Intl., Geiselgasteig, Germany.) Produced by Markus Zimmer. Directed by Gregor Schnitzler. Screenplay, Marco Kreuzpaintner, from the book by Gudrun Pausewang.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Michael Mieke; editor, Alex Dittner; music, Stefan Hansen; production designer, Patrick Mueller; costume designer, Ivana Milos; sound (Dolby Digital), Michael Mladenovic; sound designer, Chrissi Rebay; special effects supervisor, Joachim Grueninger; assistant director, Thorsten Kuenstler. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (German Cinema), Feb. 5, 2007. Running time: 102 MIN.

With: With: Paula Kalenberg, Franz Dinda, Hans-Laurin Beyerling, Carina Wiese, Karl Kranzkowski, Richy Mueller, Thomas Wlaschiha, Gabriela Maria Schmeide.

More Film

  • Gabrielle Union Marketing Summit

    Listen: How Gabrielle Union Bet on Herself and Changed Her Brand

    Actress Gabrielle Union said she was nearly 17 years past the expiration date of her mass appeal when she got the brand partnership of her dreams. “They tell you that after 26, ‘Honey, hang it up,'” Union said on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.” The episode was recorded during a keynote [...]

  • HanWay Films Boards Takashi Miike’s ‘First

    HanWay Films Boards Takashi Miike’s Cannes-Bound ‘First Love’

    HanWay Films has boarded sales on Takashi Miike’s “First Love,” which has been selected for Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. HanWay has worldwide rights excluding Asia. Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company is re-teaming with Miike on the picture, which will have its world premiere in Cannes. The film marks the fourth collaboration between the prolific Japanese [...]

  • Newport Film Festival Honorees 2019

    Newport Beach Film Festival Honors Five Artists, Kicks Off With Sundance Hit 'Luce'

    The Newport Beach Film Festival, which kicks off April 24 and continues through April 27, will honor five talented artists who will be on hand to accept their awards. The event kicks off opening night with the West Coast premiere of Sundance indie hit “Luce,” a provocative racial drama from director Julius Onah starring Naomi [...]

  • Newport Beach Film Festival Illustration

    Newport Beach Film Festival Gathers a Global Following

    Now celebrating a landmark 20th year, the Newport Beach Film Festival, which runs April 25-May 2, has become a major fixture on the crowded festival circuit and is increasingly recognized internationally as one of the leading lifestyle film fests in the U.S. This year it will spotlight more than 350 films from some 55 countries, [...]

  • Photographer: Guy Godfree. In shot: Zoey

    Tribeca Film Festival: 9 Movies to Watch

    The Tribeca Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday with a slate of movies from up-and-coming filmmakers and established directors that tackle hot-button issues such as gun violence, homophobia, and gender discrimination. The annual celebration of film was originally founded by Robert De Niro and producer Jane Rosenthal to encourage people to return to a corner [...]

  • Tribeca Film Festival'Venus in Fur' film

    Tribeca Film Festival: 10 Music Docs We’re Excited to See

    While the Tribeca Film Festival usually has strong music entries, this year has such a bounty that narrowing our top picks down to 10 was a challenge. This year’s offerings range from documentaries on the legendary Apollo Theater, the Wu-Tang Clan and Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman to music-adjacent films like Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday” (about [...]

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Robert Iger's Pay 'Naked Indecency' in Op-Ed

    After stirring a flurry of reactions over her Tweets calling out wage inequality at the Walt Disney Co. on Sunday, Abigail Disney, a filmmaker and philanthropist who is the grand niece of Walt Disney, penned an opinion column outlining her arguments against Disney’s pay practices. In her op-ed, which was published in the Washington Post [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content