Love In Thoughts
Based on a true story, this film tells the story of the murder/suicide of some members of a so-called suicide club. Set in Germany in the early 1930s, the film is beautifully shot around the events one weekend at a country house. Brother and sister, Gunther and Hilde, invite a disparate group of school friends to a party for the weekend whilst their parents are away. Tensions escalate when the boundaries between the protagonists get blurred.
For a film to succeed, do you have to care about the characters? I think you do—at least one of them, surely. I couldn’t have cared less who killed whom, or who committed suicide. By the end, I just wanted someone to do something! It is beautifully shot, as I’ve said—very Merchant Ivory in looks. It’s well acted. But it’s just all so meaningless. It’s like reading an obtuse German existentialist tract. And for that reason, this film just didn’t work on any level for me. There is one violent, seized gay kiss, but it’s not enough to sustain a whole film. The men aren’t really attractive enough to take the constant slow panning shots in close up over their faces. The girl playing Hilde could be given an Oscar for long, wide-eyed looks.
Despite the trailer and the good marketing, I’d give this one the thumbs down.
Maybe it was watching very late on a Saturday night with a bottle of French vino and fighting to stay awake, but I found this film confusing…though it looks wonderful, all soft focus romanticism and heady atmosphere. Like an extended dream told in flashback from an opening sequence set inside a prison…so we know this isn’t going to be a happy tale. The story is based on an apparently notorious criminal case from 1927 Berlin.
Set in the dappled daylight and sultry night time of one summer’s weekend at an idyllic country retreat it looks at sexual hijinks- and subsequent emotional fallout- among a group of students, focussed around a wealthy brother/sister duo and their proletarian poet houseguest.
Guenter is a sad gay boy, charismatic and willowy, an ideal of Aryan beauty, with a cute sister Hilde. When he invites Paul a schoolmate to the family summerhouse I doubt he intended to watch his handsome friend make eyes at the delectable Hilde. Though surely Guenter would know his sister is a seductive tease who can’t resist a challenge? Particularly when the minx knows her brother is very interested. There’s also a girlfriend of Hilde’s hanging around, another of the wickedly polyamorous temptress’ conquests.
It emerges during the weekend that young Hilde is engaged in a relationship with Guenter’s ex Hans. He turns up to gatecrash the party with a group of pals, including a sleazy older man who proceeds to ply our young lovers with the green fairy, Absinthe- as though to prove this really is the decadent Weimar republic of Cabaret.
We know our young protagonists are in deep trouble when they vow that if love fails then they will kill themselves. Now this is where the story lost me…perhaps I drifted off, I don’t know. The pace is so languid it was very hard to keep focus. Something to do with living life to its limit then nothingness…one of those Germanic extistentialist things I just don’t get. Anyway for Guenter & Paul this ultimate peak involves love. They’re young and romantic…and doomed. Sigh.
I was frustrated by Guenter’s passivity. Paul is so innocent I doubt he even knew Guenter wants him. As to why he’d prefer tangle haired Hilde to gorgeous Guenter, well I’m at a loss. Inevitably there’s an explosion of violent passion what with the drink & drugs and heaving emotions…and we come full circle to the prison cell and court scene.
Definitely one to rent not buy. Now how can I talk it up for resale? (German with English subtitles)