12 May 2017.
COURT *** (vo Indian and English)
The arbitrary and frustrating procedure of India’s court system is the theme of this film which at times borders on the tragicomedy. And the underlying feel is a play on the old adage, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer…”, or rather, the habitual unfairness towards the have-nots. That is the utterly frustrating part.
The story is of the interminable trials of a rowdy, rebel street poet whom one could compare to a Western political rap artist. This elderly, gutsy fellow with a shock of white hair is arrested one day while on stage – no doubt because he’s too boisterous and honest about the corruption around him – and accused of having incited a sewer worker to suicide.
Thus follows the different court trials each time he is arrested, convicted, freed and then arrested again, plus the various portraits of his lawyer and his judge. This colorful film by first-time director Chaitanya Tamhane is a lucid, even satirical look at a legal system that serves the judicial actors rather than the general public.
A GERMAN LIFE *** (vo German)
What did it feel like to be a secretary in the offices of the Nazi Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels? This straight-forward documentary interview with the 104 year-old Brunhilde Pomsel takes us directly into her life and those years.
With her incredibly-lined face, bright eyes and pleasant voice she reminisces with such honesty and clarity that one is quite mesmerized. She explains that it felt a privilege to be picked to work in such fine surroundings and to be paid so well. She describes how his attire and manner were so refined. She talks of her Jewish girlfriend, whom she advised not to visit the offices. She tells of her boyfriends, then briefly alludes to her years in a Russian prisoner-of-war camp. And she says she knew nothing of the atrocities happening outside her comfortable life.
Directors Krönes, Müller, Schrotthofer and Weigensamer have created an austere yet touching documentary (first shown last year at Nyon’s Visions du Réel festival among many others) about a young woman of the times, who could have been any of us. Would we have also just done our daily duty and not asked further? Possibly…
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.