Directed by Dario Bischofberger, Mirko Bischofberger | Review byMoumita Deb
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his emotionally involving, intelligent, and psychologically embryonic human drama, is a persuasive portrait of flawed but sympathetic people trapped in such familiar patterns of conflict that they might be our own family or neighbors, despite subtle differences.
Katrina’s indomitable dream of having children despite all odds, her emotional inclination for Ron, Louis’s head transplant and its miraculous merging with Ron’s body, all add richness to the plot. This makes the film a fascinating reflection upon the choices and commitments that one has to make that entails living for another while keeping alive your dreams uncompromisingly. The stark, terrible beauty of the setting throws the concept of marriage into sharp relief, offering a stage for one of the most striking conclusions in contemporary cinema.
Yet the film somewhat remains curiously insubstantial with its refined dabbling in the elements of satire, sentiment and melodrama exploited with such panache of execution. The director arrays the unique and seemingly exciting twist in the script when Katrina has to deal with the body and mind of two men to fulfill her dream. It is best described as the emotional drama of a woman who tries to restore her wish for a family after her husband returns from a fatal accident. But her dream soon turns into a nightmare.
Disguised as a fable without a moral Katrina’s Dream circles around the eternal human need to have children in an age in which relationships get progressively shorter, while lifespan continues to increase due to modern medicine – even beyond death. The movie works on the level of dream logic. However realistic or narrative they might seem to be, they are essentially dreamlike. As much as the mind is ever in charge of seamlessly everything, this couldn’t be far from the truth.
Despite its wealth of detail and sharp observations about morality, it’s a distinctly modern, delicate piece with a staunch, satirical cutting edge. The pace intensifies and elevates gradually into what might have been a cute, familiarly plotted movie to a romance with real heart, sweetness and genuine emotion.
This “drama of fate” essentially revolves around a strange turn of coincidence and irony, a simple melodrama that overcomes the limits of its story to offer a fascinating example of the writer-director’s understanding of the constraints of cinematic form. The focus of actors is so good that they don’t overact, all seem very natural. Though the treatment of the theme is controversial or indiscreet “it’s all about how men and women tend to hide their emotions so elegantly.”
Fine performances from Simon Esteban and Adrian Furrer add depth to their respective characters so that we feel the impact of the inevitable emotional punch delivered at the climax. Admittedly, the film doesn’t quite reach overall expectations, but it’s nonetheless a competently produced effort.
The film does have some downsides, such as overuse of fantasy sequences and some cliched characters, which are evident after Louis has a freak accident, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of his dramatic rescue with his face restored that leaves medical specialists mystified. Katrina’s Dream made with otherwise good intentions; some parts are lost in its confusing mix of uplifting spirituality and judgment. But is ultimately saved from mawkishness by the utter believability of Dagna Litzenberger Vinet’s performance as a mother who would do anything for her child.
The script is especially well-written and never feels preacher or hockey (like a lot of emotional films do). And while there’s a bit of melodrama, it’s fairly restrained. A touching and powerful film, Katrina’s Dream is a compelling story about love and humanity.
What moves me is the filmmaker’s urge to create genuine emotions in response to the prevailing human condition. Is it an epic debate between estranged spouses, or a game between strangers acting as stand-ins for unseen partners? That’s only the first mystery of many, as we are challenged to take sides on issues of love, fidelity, authenticity, parenthood, independence, vulnerability, and eventually —faith.
The stark, terrible beauty of the setting throws the concept of marriage into sharp relief, offering a stage for one of the most striking conclusions in contemporary cinema. Unexpected circumstances overshadow the marital conflict. The wrenching denouement underscores the stakes involved in making a marriage survive: the choice is impossible, all outcomes unthinkable.
This sublime human drama can eventually be summed up as a moving portrayal of patient love, longsuffering, and hopeful encouragement for the broken lives that we can identify around us.
Moumita is a Kolkata based independent filmmaker and film critic. She holds a post- graduation degree in English literature from Jadavpur University. Reading novels of a wide range of authors of all genres from classic to contemporary has always been Moumita’s passion and calling. She also takes a strong liking in playing the Spanish guitar & has participated in quite a few concerts. Moumita has done her certification course in Cinematography, Video Editing and Filmmaking.