Like a grumpy, humourless, German version of a Varda short. This Dike Sluice is a curmudgeon worthy of Beckett, pretty much. With a thirteen minute monologue... (Another quirky German anthropomorphic narration: Rabbit a la Berlin - the Cold War through the eyes of generations of bunnies: http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/rabbit_a_la_berlin)
Interessante Bilder, eher mittelmäßige Kamera und ein zwar durchaus kritischer, gut beobachtender Kommentar, aber letztlich doch eher piefig. / Interesting pictures; rather mediocre camera; critical, well observant comment; but in the end, rather an plain documentary.
An animist reversal of humans comprehending the environment with which they are entangled. Here we have a segment of the environment comprehending the humans with which IT is entangled. Cinema is the perfect medium for enacting this reversal, since by its very multiperspectival nature it has the potential to decentre human experience. Could have pushed its central premise further though.
Some parts it felt like a nostalgic old man recounting memories. The shots were like photographs; they only revealed one story at a time (though there could be multiple things happening in that story). Other parts felt more like an old forgotten god observing the humans that it serves. Kind of like a Jack Frost-like character. Very interesting style, but more impressed with the lines of the narrator than anything
It's cheering that there are still names lurking in the margins of the canon that one has yet to discover. I can't believe I had never heard of Peter Nestler before. By the Dike Sluice is at once thrilling and haunting. There is a heartwarming portrait of a small community but the darkness of German history is attested to in the titular dike's narrative, which is delivered in a fearsome, stentorian voice.
I adore film and poetry that elides story for setting, selects a place and sits on it. Marvelous film compositions here, too, and a melancholic relationship. Favors casting small signs of civilization over nature, both of which sort of peel away at each other's significance. Fascinating stuff.