Gutland Essay

Decent Essays
Filed under The Discovery Programme at TIFF, which highlights up and coming directors, Govinda Van Maele’s full-length feature "Gutland" (German) is a striking debut, one that slowly burns through the magnificent landscapes of rural Luxembourg with flourishes of neorealism. Simultaneously, Maele manages to unravel a dark noir while meshing in hints of German expressionism and nods to Lars Von Trier-esque surrealism. For almost the entirety of “Gutland,” it is quite difficult to gauge the plot trajectory of Maele’s debut. For a film deemed a surrealist piece, it tends to mysteriously meander, but where to is the big looming question. With that being said, an inexplicably rugged fugitive, Jens (Frederick Lau), laboring around a large duffel bag, cryptically enters the charming little village of Schandelsmillen in search for seasonal work. Unfortunately for Jens, the small town is weary to welcome the outsider. Puzzling enough, sleeping with the…show more content…
Needless to say, the film is nothing special in hindsight. Yes, the final act is quite the twist; however, Gutland offers a standard psychological noir that deservingly draws praise for audacity but makes almost no sense the whole way. If you want to watch anything like “Gutland,” you are better off checking out anything from Von Trier or early Polanski. Besides the rudimentary style and atmosphere, Gutland’s surrealist-driven rabbit hole manages to only be slightly engaging and will undoubtedly lose the interest of many attention spans. In order to recover the interest of audiences, the director resorts to unnervingly violent sex-scenes and shock-value tactics to keep viewers stimulated. Aside from the film’s few but glaring pitfalls, if you have interest towards slow burn mysteries and are easily spurred by uncomfortability, “Gutland” is the quiet indie gem for you. With all things considered, “Gutland” is an auspicious debut for the young Van
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