German Gems 2012: “Westwind”, “Under Control”, and “Taboo – The Soul Is A Stranger On Earth” Reviews and Trailers


Westwind is based on a true story about two East German teen sisters and one life changing 1988 summer while traveling abroad in socialist Hungary.  The film is part low-key coming-of-age drama, and part Romeo & Juliet – minus the many deaths, that is.

Like all the German films I’ve seen this year (so far, this is my 4th) this too was shot with all the care of a director and film crew whose grasp on the language of film is secure.  In other words, very well executed.  Sure, the ending was a bit corny and predictable, but in the overall context of the film I’m able to forgive such sappiness.

Under Control

It’s fair to say that if Stanley Kubrick had ever made a documentary after 1968 that it would be similar to Volker Sattel‘s exploration of all things nuclear power plant related.  Had Sattel chose to add a classical music score, and I had not already been familiar with Kubrick’s filmography, I could have easily been tricked into believing that this was a Kubrick film.  For the record, I am a huge admirer of Kubrick, so these comparisons should be taken as very high praise.

While the film was interesting enough in its teetering back and forth stances on the pros and cons of nuclear power, where it shines brightest is in the mesmerizing cinematography used in every tracking shot, to which there are many.

Taboo – The Soul Is A Stranger On Earth

As bad as I thought the film’s title is, the film itself is even worse.  Sure, the cinematography looked pretty, but that alone can not make a film good.  This film’s attempt at evoking an experience of existentialist bliss through rotund use of voiced-over poetry, over dramatic acting, and an  incestual plot line that seems better suited for a Jerry Springer costume drama reenactment falls way short of its mark.

Unlike every other movie in this year’s German Gems Festival I can not recommend anyone go see this, unless of course you happen to be either sporting an icky love jones for your sibling, or are a sucker for cinema featuring anguished goth poeticism layered atop softcore porn.


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