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VINCENT WANTS TO SEA

SYNOPSIS:
Vincent (Florian David Fitz) suffers from Tourette's Syndrome and has been placed in a clinic by his politician father, Robert Gellner (Heino Ferch). His mother has just passed away and Vincent wants to honour her wish by taking her ashes to the seaside. It's an impossible task under the circumstances, but Vincent is determined and escapes from the clinic in a stolen car. With anorexic Marie (Karoline Herfurth) and obsessive-compulsive Alex (Johannes Almayer) along for the ride, he heads toward the Italian coast, with his father and Doctor Rose (Katharina Muller-Elmau) from the clinic in bickering pursuit.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The drive from Southern Germany to Italy through Austria's Tyrolean alps is a scenic joy, adding visual pleasure to the cinematic joys of this engaging tragicomedy from Ralf Huettner.

It begins (don't miss it) as Vincent (Fitz), suffering from Tourette's Syndrome, is placed in a clinic by his hard nosed politician father, Robert Gellner (Ferch) immediately after his mother's death. Vincent wants to honour her wish by taking her ashes to the sea. It seems an impossible task under the circumstances, but Vincent is determined and he finds an ally in anorexic Marie (Herfurth), who is the dynamo of an escape plan.

Vincent's roommate, obsessive-compulsive Alex (Allmayer), joins them - against his will - in a hilarious scene. Vincent's father and the clinic's Doctor Rose (Muller-Elmau) are soon in bickering pursuit.

Those elements give the film its dramatic tension, and the story its plotline. But it's the combination of the characters and the lively direction of a well observed screenplay that makes the film infectious and endearing. The characters are well drawn and their mental challenges are dealt with sensitively but frankly, filling the film with humanity.

The screenplay explores serious themes - some quite dark - with a lightness of touch, providing well observed and genuine humour, sometimes through pain.

The cast is superb; Fitz (writer of the screenplay) is highly effective and credible as Vincent, afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, his tics a source of annoyance and embarrassment. Herfurth is marvellous as the anorexic Marie with a soft heart and a hard head, while Allmayer makes the tragicomic character of the OCD suffering Alex come alive.

The film has an undulating rhythm and a changing dynamic as the father-son relationship tugs away at the edges and the end of the road trip has a satisfying - and thought provoking - resolution.
First published in the Sun-Herald

Review by Louise Keller:
Three misfits head for the Italian coast in a bid to escape from their inescapable problems in this bittersweet roadmovie that has all the ingredients to make us laugh, cry and everything in between. It's an audacious screenwriting debut for Florian David Fitz, who stars as Vincent, the 27 year old with Tourette's whose father thinks he's a loser. Self-empowerment is the film's inspiring theme and director Ralf Huettner delivers an uplifting experience as we navigate the twists and turns of the journey.

We first meet Vincent at his mother's funeral, where his distress is as loudly apparent as his involuntary tics. Plainly emotionally adrift, Vincent is installed at a facility by his politician father Robert Gellner (Heino Ferch), to keep him safely out of sight of his election campaign, after unkindly telling him the photo of his mother in which she is smiling, must have been taken before he was born. It is in the facility, under the watch of therapist Dr Rose (Katharina Müller-Elmau) that Vincent meets his new compulsive obsessive room-mate Alex (Johannes Allmayer) and Marie (Karoline Herfurth), the anorexic, pot-smoking rebel.

The first 20 minutes are critical in establishing the plight and circumstances of all the players, and by the time Vincent (clutching a candy-tin containing his mother's ashes), Marie (having stolen Dr Rose's car-keys) and an unwilling Alex (kicking and screaming) hit the road headed to the Italian coast to dispel the ashes, the story kicks in beautifully. Hot in pursuit in the teeming rain with tempers blazing, are Vincent's father and Dr Rose, whose ideas of handling the situation are in total conflict.

The scenes in which the youngsters get the upper hand, driving through the beautiful Austrian Alps are filled with a great sense of freedom as they get to know each other. The scenes in which they talk about their ailments are especially touching and I like the juxtapositions of Alex air-conducting classical music, Vincent's and Marie's kiss in the alpine setting and an elated first glimpse of the sea from the highest peak.

The laugh out loud moments are countered by poignant one and I like the way the problems that face Vincent, Alex and Marie are never diminished. In the same way, Huettner never makes fun of his characters and we inwardly cheer as the emotional distance between Vincent and his father becomes smaller.

I was constantly surprised by this often hilarious, affecting film whose performances match the depth of emotion achieved.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

VINCENT WANTS TO SEA (MA15+)
(Germany, 2009)

Vincent will meer

CAST: Florian David Fitz, Karoline Herfurth, Heino Ferch, Katharina Muller-Elmau, Johannes Allmayer, Karin Thaler

PRODUCER: Viola Jager, Harald Kugler

DIRECTOR: Ralf Huettner

SCRIPT: Florian David Fitz

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andreas Berger

EDITOR: Karl Schroeter

MUSIC: Stevie Be-Zet, Ralf Hildenbeutel

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Heidi Ludi

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella Ent

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 15, 2011







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