Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Maren is a German-language short film about a woman who plans to meet her husband for dinner, but finds death personified at the table instead. It’s a delightfully morbid concept that I was very excited to learn more about, as I love anything psychologically thrilling. Thank you to writer/director Ludo Vici for getting in touch and sending it my way.
Straight away, I was so impressed with the cinematography in this film. For a completely independent piece of work, the quality of the shots are absolutely stunning. It feels like you’re watching a film of a much higher budget, so I was really impressed with how professional and well-polished the film looked overall. You really feel transported to Maren’s world for the entire duration of the film. The lighting, set design and mise-en-scene feel so natural, yet it’s clear so much work went into putting it all together.
Set against this beautiful backdrop are our two central characters; Maren and Death. Whilst the film focuses on just these two for the majority, the performances and dialogue are captivating and keeps you hooked throughout. Max Tidof’s portrayal of Death is chilling, and he has some excellent lines throughout. I especially loved his performance because whilst villainous, it wasn’t over the top and instead very subtle to the point where he blended in to his surroundings effortlessly. Margitta Janine Lippok as titular character Maren is equally as impressive, with a wide emotional range as she goes through this journey.
The downside, however, is that I found the film a little too ‘arty’ for my tastes. Whilst the dialogue is strong and the performances great, I became confused by some of the scenes. That isn’t necessarily a criticism of the filmmaker’s work, more that it didn’t resonate with me in a way I would have liked, so I don’t rate the overall narrative as highly as the rest of the film’s elements. Narrative is important to me so it’s a shame I didn’t enjoy every scene as much as I had anticipated.
However, I would still absolutely recommend this film to those who like their films to be a little more abstract, because I feel it would be a great fit for those audiences. I do have a couple of promotional codes if anyone would like to watch this film for themselves, so do get in touch with me on Twitter or via email if this would interest you.
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