Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Devil of Kreuzberg - a new film from Alexander Bakshev

2015, Germany. Director: Alexander Bakshev

The enamoured relationship between Linda (Sandra Bourdonnec) and Jakob (Ludwig Reuter) slowly begins unravelling when Jakob begins to be tormented by disturbing, reoccurring nightmares in which Linda appears as a beautiful but deadly succubus. Jakob, frightened by the realism of the nightmares, acts aloof and distant to Linda. Confused and hurt by Jakob’s behaviour, Linda soon finds herself engulfed in her own troubles when she discovers she has been plagued by a family curse which has blighted her family for hundreds of years. Jakob, becoming more and more unstable, begins to completely lose his grip on reality and asks his best friend Kurt, a small-time hitman, to murder Linda. However, Kurt is extremely reluctant to partake in this request. Under the looming threat of their once idyllic world being destroyed forever, will Jakob be able to break free from his personal hell and reclaim his sanity? As for Linda, every single family member who had fallen under the spell of the curse had perished. Will she be able to defy history and survive? The latter all depends on whether Kurt chooses between loyalty to his friend, or standing by his own conscience.
The Devil of Kreuzberg is the latest production from extraordinarily talented filmmaker Alexander Bakshaev (Naked Trip, Bittersweet and DEFINTELY one to watch in future). With the running time a short but sweet 50 minutes, Devil is a brilliantly realised journey of love, hate, life, death and friendship, set in the uber-cool Berlin district of Kreuzberg.The  cosmopolitan cast of hip young things are perfectly suited to their roles, in particular Sandra Bourdonnec and Ludwig Reuter as the haunted and ultimately doomed young lovers. Both give subtle, but at the same time intense and memorable performances. One of Bakshaevs’ specialties is combining human drama with supernatural or horror-based themes - it is hinted at that there is much more below the surface of the various relationships between Linda, Jakob and Kurt, which creates some intriguing speculation for the viewer. Devil is also filled to the brim with Bakshaev’s trademark stunning imagery – the rainwashed streets highlighted by the glow of neon and street lights gives a pleasing Argento-esque vibe at times (and indeed there are loving nods to Jean Rollin and Jess Franco throughout the film). Each and every scene has been painstakingly, carefully crafted, and it shows in the gorgeous composition, the stylish set design, the fluid camerawork. Finally, mention must go to the refreshingly unique use of soundtrack music – the distinctive, but never overly intrusive, combination of electronic and experimental jazz tracks makes for a hypnotic soundscape that fits in with the action perfectly. The Devil of Kreuzberg is a very entertaining and watchable merging of arthouse and poetic European Gothic, and hopefully in future will deservedly reach a wider audience.  

No comments: