Review: Vivere

The film illuminates facets of its own self in only the most superficial ways.

Photo: Regent Releasing

A little less gloss, yak, and structural fracture and Vivere could pass for Climates, but the temperature here is still the same as in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s last film: pretentious. Why is Francesca (Esther Zimmering), a Cologne taxi driver, sent to buy pills for her sister Antonietta (Kim Schnitzer)? Why does Gerlinde (Hannelore Elsner) ignore Francesca’s request not to smoke in the backseat of her cab? How does Gerlinde recognize Antonietta at the Rotterdam train station if they don’t know each other? From Francesca and Antonietta’s home, which the girls share with their Italian father, to the side of the road where Francesca finds the injured Gerlinde and, finally, the club where Antonietta’s musician boyfriend is playing a gig and the trio of women discuss the black holes in the sky above and the “moron satellite” they live on, writer-director Angelina Maccarone thrives on confounding audiences. That is, until the story abandons Francesca’s point of view and begins backtracking, retelling itself from Gerlinde’s perspective, then a third time from Antonietta’s vantage point. But the film illuminates facets of its own self in only the most superficial ways, such as the trickle of vomit that spews from Antonietta’s mouth in the middle stretch, revealed in the third leg to be the result of morning sickness. Vivere scoffs at linearity in a desperate attempt to disguise the fact that it has nothing profound to say about women and their sexual agency across borders both national and generational.

 Cast: Hannelore Elsner, Esther Zimmering, Kim Schnitzer, Aykut Kayacik, Egbert-Jan Weeber, Friederike Wagner  Director: Angelina Maccarone  Screenwriter: Angelina Maccarone  Distributor: Regent Releasing  Running Time: 97 min  Rating: NR  Year: 2007  Buy: Video

Ed Gonzalez

Ed Gonzalez is the co-founder of Slant Magazine. His writing has also appeared in The Village Voice and The Los Angeles Times. He’s a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, the Critics Choice Association, and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.

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