woman lying in forest at base of tree

The Dreamed Path
(Der traumhafte Weg)

Directed by Angela Schanelec.
With Miriam Jakob, Thorbjörn Björnsson, Maren Eggert.
Germany, 2017, DCP, color, 86 min.
German, English and Greek with English subtitles.

An undeniably moving abstraction, The Dreamed Path is constructed image-by-image with great deliberation. Schanelec edited the film herself—the cuts are faster than before—and she encourages viewers to read a world as it is being experienced, yet concurrently sets up obstacles that prevent basic narrative comprehension. In its fragmentation, invisible time leaps, repeated lines of dialogue, characters reappearing three decades later wearing the same clothes, Schanelec teases the film-as-puzzle, even presenting blatant world-historical bookmarks for orientation. Yet this puzzle remains unsolvable, as narrative isn’t Schanelec’s concern, images are. Schanelec employs seemingly familiar arthouse tropes to tell the barely intertwined stories of two couples who experience alternate bleak realities, wracked by pain and sadness, drugs, euthanasia, suicide, homelessness and divorce over four time periods. But the Bressonian character interiority is combined with an aching strangeness, as the linear plot progresses through seamless mutations. This befits a film about adults in states of transition, and children in transition by virtue of being children: are the lovers, as they appear in the second half, themselves “dreamed?” Or is this strategy predicted on the act of “unknowing” reality? – Mark Perenson

Part of program

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