9/10. Deeply impressive stuff. Informed my dreams and only grew on me further the next day. This isn't even a genre film. Or perhaps: this is a realistic genre film resisting simple classification. It's so subtle and restrained in its supernatural elements. Carried by a brilliant performance from Striesow, alongside Hoss. There is so much attention to details here.
Superbly written reformulation of CARNIVAL OF SOULS is full of scary silences that contribute to a thrilling revelation in the end. One of rare times that I immediately rewatched the film just too enjoy watching the mystery unravel over again. Impeccable nuanced acting by Nina Hoss, who communicated so much through her body language and eyes.
*Spoiler* The "all just a dream" trope and its variants often don't work because they tend to feel like a cheat. But on occasion a director can nail the cinematic depiction of the late comedian Bill Hicks' infamous quote: "There is no such thing as death. Life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves." I thought about this film for days afterward and concluded, "Yes!"
I remember seeing this at a film club a super long time ago. Still have no idea how the guy who ran it got the print as I never saw it released anywhere else. Awesome to see that this is up here, along with another film by the director. Ever since seeing it I have been excited to see more from him! Hope even more films of his wind up on here someday.
Compared to Barbara, this movie operates with cruder slashes, but that's no problem, makes the unpredictable, threatening atmosphere stronger. I liked the instrumentalized depiction of the characters: since Yella is in danger, she instincively helps any man she thinks can protect her, and they use her in turn. It's OK to end the movie like this, though they could have just dispensed with all the unreal elements.