directed by: Veit Helmer
starring: Denis Lavant; Chulpan Khamatova; Phillipe Clay; Terrence Gillespie
says: "I absolutely loved this film. I agree that there’s a good
deal of influence from Jeunet/Caro and Keaton, but I also thought it owed
a lot to Tati. On top of that, at the very moment that I was thinking,
“this is what Eraserhead would have looked like if it had been shot in
Central Europe,” along comes Gregor and that fabulous coif of his.
"TUVALU is a German production filmed in Sofia about a son (Dennis
Lavant, "Beau Travail") trying to keep a crumbling bathhouse operating for
his aging parents while his brother is bent to destroy it. Almost completing
silent, the film seems like a melding of the films of Caro/Jeunet ("Delicatessen/City
of Lost Children") and the silent American slapstick. Tinted black and white
photography is beautiful. Lavant is completely different from his "Beau
Travail" character - he's a silent comic clown here (with an penchant for
sniffing underwear!) " 4 cats
For Laura's complete review: "http://www.reelingreviews.com/tuvalu.htm"
says: "I'm glad I went to see TUVALU, thanks to Laura and Peg's recommendations.
This charming and bizarre film has outstanding visuals, and strong similarities
(as others have already said) to the films of Jeunet, as well as the silent
films of Chaplin and Keaton. As Peg mentioned, the physical performances
of the cast were terrific, with Denis Lavant being a standout. It was great
fun to see his comic performance. His face is so expressive, light years
from the stern and somber soldier of the French Foreign Legion that he was
nominated for in BEAU
TRAVAIL. He has such a unique look, that is used to full effect. To
borrow a phrase from KISSING
JESSICA STEIN, I would put Lavant in the sexy/ugly category.
"The story is deceptively sweet and simple, yet it all works. The good guys win, for the most part, and the bad guys get their just desserts. Chulpan Khamatova's Eva is reminiscent of Audrey Tautou in AMELIE, yet her evil turn was rather delightful. I also enjoyed Catalina Murgea as Martha, the receptionist of the bathhouse where the action all takes place.
"And did I mention those gorgeous visuals? Those half submerged wrecked ships took my breath away." 4 cats
|Nathaniel T. says: "Charming, surprising, and beautiful. While the story is familiar, TUVALU offers many interesting ideas and innovations. The sexual deviance right underneath the surface of the film was an intriguing addition to this type of tale. I enjoyed the cinematography especially, but out of the cast, Chulpan Khamatova is the stand-out." 4 cats|
"I saw this yesterday and enjoyed it. In addition to the aforementioned
similarity to the films of Frenchmen Jeunet and Caro, as well as Chaplin
and Keaton, I was also reminded of Luc Besson's futuristic film LE
DERNIER COMBAT (little things mostly), and even BLADE
RUNNER on some level. Visually the film is stunning (the art direction
of beyond description really) and the actors are to be commended for their
rigorously physical performances. The limited dialogue was problematic
for me; I think it would have been better with no dialogue at all...but
otherwise I found it very entertaining and beautiful."
"This is a wildly whimsical film that utilizes broad slapstick humor,
manic pratfalls, a funky little romance, a tale of loyalty to parents, sibling
rivalry, greed and more. Director Veit Helmer, from his screenplay with
Michaela Beck, creates, in his debut film, a world that is a combination
of comic book story and classic silent comedy. It succeeds in creating a
world where sound and illusion mask the reality of the decay of beloved
baths owned by Karl (Phillipe Clay), Anton and Gregor's sightless dad. As
Anton struggles to hide the fact that the place is falling apart, he must
also cope with the sneaky efforts of his brother. Gregor enlists the help
of pretty Eva (Chulpan Hamatova) who mistakenly agrees to help the greedy
brother. It seems her father was killed by falling masonry in the baths
and Eva wrongly blames Anton." 4 1/2 cats
For Robin's complete review: "http://www.reelingreviews.com/tuvalu.htm"
says: "I am so glad this film has made it around the country - we
screened it in fall of 2000 at our little film festival, Sidewalk