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Peaceful Times

Director Neele Vollmar's second feature, "Peaceful Times," is a 1960s-set family dramedy that doesn't quite have the stuff to make a dent at arthouses abroad.

With:
With: Katharina Schubert, Oliver Stokowski, Tamino Wecker, Nina Monka, Leonie Brill.

Divertingly if somewhat incongruously lightweight given its theme — parental mental illness from the children’s point of view — “Peaceful Times” is a 1960s-set family dramedy in which pining for life back East amid the freedom of West Germany is just one of Mom’s many eccentricities. Second feature by director Neele Vollmar doesn’t quite have the stuff to make a dent at arthouses abroad, but could attract offshore tube and possibly disc sales.

Forever distracted, bottle-blonde, flip-do’d housewife Irene (Katharina Schubert) is a disaster behind the wheel, forever getting into near-wrecks and sighing that she’s fated to die young — hardly comforting words to her children, particularly joined-at-hip sisters Ute (Nina Monka) and Wasa (Leonie Brill). With well-intentioned cluelessness, the girls try various schemes to keep mom alive, including encouraging her to divorce Dad (Oliver Stokowski). What they don’t quite grasp is that Irene is growing ever more paranoid about hubby’s alleged infidelities, an imminent WWIII and more. Pic opts for cuteness rather than deeper insight, leaving a pleasant if unmemorable impression.

Peaceful Times

Germany

Production: A Match Factory presentation of a Royal Pony Films production, in cooperation with Bayerischer Fundfunk/ARTE, Odeon Pictures, Lunaris Film, Fernsproduktion, Neue Kinowelt Produktion. (International sales: Royal Pony, Geiselgasteig, Germany.) Produced by Caroline Daube. Co-producers, Georg Huber, Hermann Florin. Directed by Neele Leana Vollmar. Screenplay, Ruth Toma, from a story by Virgit Vanderbeke.

Crew: Camera (color, Super 16-to-35mm), Pascal Schit; editor, Florian Drechsler; music, Oliver Thiede; production designer, Stephanie Schlienz. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Aug. 23, 2008. Original title: Friedliche zeiten. Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Katharina Schubert, Oliver Stokowski, Tamino Wecker, Nina Monka, Leonie Brill.

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