#FilmReview: “Dissonance” by #German moviemaker Till Nowak

Dissonance premiered at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2015. A year later, as Berlinale and other festivals begin soon, this sorrow filled but beautiful short is revisited.

Description: “A genius musician lives a lonely life in a surreal, floating world. He plays the piano every day in a gigantic concert hall, but there is nobody to listen. One day his animated world collapses and reality breaks out. The film seamlessly transforms from an animation into a live action drama, reflecting the journey from his psychotic mind into the real world. He only has one wish: To play for his daughter, which he is not allowed to visit.” From IMDb.

Dissonance shows the curious nature of the modern German mindset. Old thoughts and beliefs, the quickness to label and categorize, dismissive of the possibility of error. An example: the daughter saying her father said he would teach her how to play the piano and the mother say no, he can’t, how is that possible: “He wouldn’t live on the streets if he were so capable”. Then you have those who are quite open, so open, they accept any and all frames of thought and ways, which can be good and bad. That’s a societal introspective from a non-German who was born and lived in Germany for many years.

However, the personal aspect of the story creatively presents a situation that can happen in families most anyplace they are in the world, whatever background: the parents have separated because of some real or perceived failing on the other’s part. One parent feels they must protect the child from the “failed” parent. Sometimes they really do need to, at others, it is as an imagined a danger as the pianist father’s animated psychotic fears of the world, which he shares with a stuffed animal. It’s all he has physically left of his daughter. This stuffed animal shares his world, interactive and observant but silent, until when sadly put aside by the pianist who sadly accepts he will no longer be allowed in, the toy tells his own story.

Dissonance was stylishly, beautifully done. Very simple in a way, but profound, thoughtful, sad and hopeful at the same time. The daughter naturally yearned for her father, but the mother’s acceptable fears vs. the father’s misunderstood fears, would likely keep them apart too long. The father, whose daughter meant so much to him, seemed ready to succumb to loneliness, his psychotic difference and “The Edge” he had avoided for so long.

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