I've long been a lover of Hanneke's films & of Kafka's surrealism, & so was sure to love this film. I haven't read the book, yet I thought it's the kind of novel that could only benefit from having a visualisation of it first. Hanneke doesn't disappoint, & I found it suitably dystopian, confusing & offbeat, all while being absolutely essential in its minimalism, & Beckettian in its absurdly comic and dark characters.
An effective abstraction of Mitteleuropan cliches and the even more obvious ones associated with adaptations from Kafka. The lockjaw editing serves the autistic insistency well with its expected 90-degree logic and disproportionate responses which are realised with Hanneke’s blank efficiency - here working a treat. It goes nowhere but then so does bureaucracy and rarely has it been so convincingly captured.
I love Kafka's ellipses in time, a dream felt realistically lived. Perfect for Haneke's muted, Austrian mise-en-scène. Susanne Lothar is reminiscent of Altman's Shelley Duvall. An almost palpable coldness surrounds as love, in its strangeness, warms and eludes. Why's it gotta be unfinished?