it worth risking life and limb for the chance to go bust in the Klondike
goldfields? A party of German immigrants believes so. They will endure exploitation and the
elements for their dreams of precious metal in Thomas Arslan’s Gold (trailer here), which screens as
part of the Goethe Institut’s German Currents: Festival of German Film in Los
is gold in those hills some place.
Unfortunately, Laser, a German promising to take a ragtag group of
prospective prospectors up to the remote gold-crazed town of Dawson is a total phony.
Although Emily Meyer has few illusions about their guide’s reliability, she continues
on the journey. Like the rest of her
group, the divorced former domestic servant has no life to go back to.
least Laser hired a dependable packer. Carl Boehmer has never been so far north
either, but he has cause to make himself scarce. As the harsh conditions take a toll on the
travelers, a quiet mutual attraction percolates between Meyer and Boehmer, but
it is a halting flirtation, due to reasons of privacy and privation.
demonstrates how ugly survival can get.
There is at least one scene that will surely have audience members
talking afterward and may unfairly come to define the film. Following in the tradition of revisionist
westerns, Gold is pensive but never
pokey. In fact, it observes western
conventions when you least expect it.
Hoss is a brilliant choice to play the reticent but resilient Meyer. Following
up remarkable work in Barbara and A Woman in Berlin, she once again delivers
a tightly controlled but infinitely suggestive performance. She finds a fitting
partner in Slovenian actor Marko Mandić, who has a real Viggo Mortensen vibe
going on as Boehmer.
is rather fascinating as an example of the Old
World engaging with the New World. It looks terrific, thanks cinematographer
Patrick Orth’s John Ford-worthy vistas. Dylan Carson’s reverb-heavy electric
guitar score also evokes the haunted past, while sounding
ultra-retro-contemporary. Finely crafted
and gritty as trail dust, Gold is a
good film as well as a curiosity piece. Recommended for fans of naturalistic
westerns and German cinema (two sub-sets that do not often overlap), Gold screens this Sunday (10/6) at the
Egyptian Theatre as part of this year’s German Currents.
Labels: German Cinema, German Currents '13, Nina Hoss, Western Cinema