A strong contender for the most razor-sharp performance of the year, Cate Blanchett dominates Todd Field’s impeccably helmed film, as all of its aspects, from Marco Bittner Rosser’s austerely modernist production design to Florian Hoffmeister’s meticulous lensing, seem to be finely tuned to match her nuanced character, maestro and self-proclaimed ‘U-haul lesbian’ Lydia Tár, who – albeit being one of the most unsympathetic big-screen ‘heroines’ – elicits admiration in the (spellbound) writer of these lines.
Described as ‘a German film from the 1930s that could have been, but never was’, Die Verlorenen (lit. The Lost Ones) marks a fascinating solo feature debut for Alaska-born, Amsterdam-based filmmaker Reynold Reynolds. Both formally and aesthetically challenging, this bold 16mm experiment is a love letter to cinema history, particularly its silent era and early talkies, as well as a delightfully puzzling showcase of its author’s allusive approach to the pictorial language. It follows a young British writer, Christopher, on his stay in an eccentric Berlin cabaret where high art meets burlesque, and science is intertwined with parapsychology, all in a series of dreamlike vignettes that dissolve the Weimar reality. Opening with a ‘God shot’ of a train-set diorama which – if you pay attention – hints at a much faster passage of time, the film fiercely pulls you into a peculiar universe by virtue of its rich texturality and stunning cinematography (Imogen Heath) beautifully complemented by a quaintly avant-garde dialogue between a piano (Gerard Bouwhuis) and a violin (Heleen Hulst). Visually reminiscent of Guy Maddin’s oeuvre, Die Verlorenen also draws comparisons to Werner Schroeter’s work during its operatic bits, one of which is mesmerizingly sung by Croatian mezzo-soprano Tanja Šimić Queiroz.
The film is available on the director’s official Vimeo channel, HERE.