Effectively elusive, “The Red Spot” is an ultimately inscrutable drama about reconciling the past by disturbing the present. Helmer Marie Miyayama’s debut feature prefers silent glances to dialogue and seems fascinated by the minutiae of family, resulting in a German film with a distinctly Japanese feel. Minimalism impedes the story, however, with low-key thesping that holds the viewer at arm’s length. Almost too sophisticated for mainstream arthouse auds, the pic will find fest defenders and tube takers.
Twenty-one-year old Japanese college student Aki Onodera (Yuki Inomata) is becoming increasingly distracted by questions surrounding the deaths of her parents and baby brother in an auto accident in Germany some 18 years earlier. Finding a box of keepsakes that includes a map of Bavaria, she embarks on a voyage of discovery and reconciliation. Once in picturesque East Allgaeu, she becomes ensnared in the generational friction between delinquent 18-year-old Elias Weber (Orlando Klaus) and his timid father, Johannes (Hans Kremer). Unbeknownst to all, the Onoderas and the Webers have met before. Tech package is fine, led by Miyayama’s own delicate editing and Oliver Sachs’ widescreen compositions.