These passages of solipsistic elation — during which the camera pauses its progress through Lydia’s investigation — don’t rely so much on spoken English as on an almost extraordinary cinematic texturalism. (It’s no surprise that Yeon-gil Park, the filmmaker who directed “Burning” and “Attack,” finds herself soaked in the visual-aesthetic while composing so many of these beautiful images.) The film winds from the speed skating rink, under the sheets, down the highway, dallying with such startling images as brilliantly lit rooms, white-shirted students, framed landscapes, and even a Toyota truck. Meanwhile, the director, a first-time feature filmmaker who primarily shows at the Busan International Film Festival, does excellent work on such subjects as the psychology of Erwin Piscator’s Berliner Ensemble, dissecting and applying that famed director’s ideas of theatrical structure and method. The film’s deep crisply black-and-white photography is absolutely somber throughout, drawing focus on the gestures and dress of the players themselves, in addition to the challenging, sometimes novel composing choices being made by the cinematographer, Florian Hoffmeister, who paints and layers landscapes, props, and the actors before the shot. Among the many credits along the way are costume designer Christine Hauhn, production designer Tim Van Hoozer, and composer Shigeru Umebayashi.
Although Blanchett’s performance is commanding and stellar, she doesn’t stop being first and foremost an actor yearning to be discovered a language expert. On the other hand, Gunadttir’s strength most prominently comes from her composition of different, layered sensibilities in her performers. Though their scenes are often beautifully spliced together, each player remains connected with the ensemble through different rhythms and textures, which Gharavi uses to great effect.
Then there’s Jaume Balaguero, who arguably plays Oskar Schindler front and center. A good half of this film belongs to him, and he delivers a good half of it in an always astonishingly strong Spanish. d2c66b5586