Rating: (2 out of 5) Saturday, 10/17/2009, 9:00 PM Feature presentation, $10 at Goethe Institut Inter Nationes
MYTH HAS IT that Sean Connery was told early in his career that to be memorable as an actor he should choose and evoke an animal. In his case, it was obviously a panther. Consciously or otherwise, actor Susanne Sachsse also quite remarkably embodies the mood and movement of a particular animal — a sleek and powerful horse. With her dark hair, muscular neck, and impressive carriage she is like the wild mare that can be tamed only by those whom she chooses. She has, without doubt, a stunning screen presence and, for better or worse, she is the most memorable thing about Maria Beatty’s Bandaged, a mildly gothic sort-of love-story badly hampered by a paltry script and an absurd plot.
Raised in the confines of a crumbling mansion, the 17-year-old Lucille (Janna Lisa Dombrowsky, looking and acting like the daughter of somebody with a lot of pull) resists the surgeon father who has imprisoned her since her mother died under mysterious disfiguring circumstances. Trapped between a rock and hard place, Hans Piesbergen as the cruel daddy, delivers the scripts’ wooden edicts without a whiff of irony. When Lucille gets fed up with dinner at eight and her father’s distain for her interest in literature, she tries to commit suicide.
With his daughter bandaged, bedridden and still imprisoned, daddy hires Sachsse’s Nurse Genova, in heavy make-up and seriously starched whites, to give Lucille round-the clock care. As Lucille opens up to her mysterious but kindly care-giver, daddy toils away in his creepy basement preparing an experimental technique to repair his daughter’s scarred face. Before you can say ”sponge bath” the two women have fallen madly in lust and manage a few frenzied, if carefully shot, encounters before dad’s unorthodox treatment and the love affair fall apart.
As easy as it would be to dismiss this is as pure camp, one cannot quite for this is also a lushly photographed, beautifully lit film designed with a restrained but nicely evocative sense of period detail. And the silliness aside, what emerges most is Beatty’s fascination with Sachsse: Her every movement is documented with sensuous tenderness, her face captured from every angle and every light. Perhaps there is a love story here that has nothing to do with the ridiculous plot. Had Beatty joined her appreciation of Sachsse with a better script and a real story, this could have been affecting, even poetic, Sapphic study.
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