Slamdance Film Review: Kinderwald

Posted January 21, 2014 in
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Slamdance Film Festival
Director: Lisa Raven

Remember the historical education videos from fifth grade with information about how our American ancestors lived and settled the land up through advent of the Industrial Revolution? This film is like that, except it doesn’t teach you anything. John (Frank Brückner) and Flora Linden (Emily Behr) are raising their two children, Caspar and Georgie (Leopold and Ludwig Fischer Pasternak) while John works in a coal mine in Pennsylvania in the mid-1800s. (Their names, along with the word “kinder,” are half the lines of the film.) When the two boys go missing, the couple entreats the surrounding community to help find them to no avail, which brings them some unwanted attention—puritanical Christian women make speculations about Emily’s chastity and John being the boys’ uncle in relation to Flora’s widowhood, and two devious men begin harassing Flora while John’s searching for the boys. As the search becomes increasingly futile, a teenage boy (Max Cove) who’s infatuated with Emily hints at knowing where her children are, which, for the viewer, raises suspicion given his interaction with the Caspar and Georgie toward the beginning of the film. After a couple weeks pass, the story line of this movie goes nowhere beyond two children being missing and that nobody can find them. The acting leaves much to be desired, and the German couple inexplicably begin to speak in a down-home American English drawl and abandon their Deutsch (“Caspah” and “Jiojie” transform into “Casperr” n’ “Jurrjie”). The ending to this film didn’t make any sense, to boot. It’s a valiant try at what, apparently, is a tricky genre, but it misses its mark.


Date: 1.23, 5:50 PM Venue: Treasure Mountain Inn, Main Screening Room