Never look away, by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck – director of great movies such as “The lives of others” – is arguably one of the most complex movies of this autumn, enriched by Max Richter’s soundtrack.
Elena Saltaelli tells us her experience in watching it in a beautiful solo show.
Never Look Away – as seen by Elena Saltarelli
In this magniloquent work (about 188 minutes), Von Donnersmarck touches many themes and events, maintaining as Ariane’s thread the life of the painter Kurt Barnert, here interpreted by Tom Schilling.
This film passes through three ages of the 20th century’ Germany: from the furious Nazi regime to the unprejudiced artistic vanguards, trying to redeem German society from the amenities of which it is guilty.
I’ve found in this film the desire to tell the visual and pseudo-photographic art of the painter (still alive) Gerhard Richter, that despite the contemporaneity pressure, tending to a conceptual and abstract art, remained faithful to his natural inclination to the portrait, while crossing and experimenting several solutions.
Maybe this attempt is a bit presumptuous in combining the personal drama and artistic research of a man in a single work: the result, while qualitatively superb, is affected by the extreme length and by some moments maybe overly-refined and not so accorded to the story.
It follows a drama that takes the volume of a epos, and like all epos it has both apexes of heart-breaking cruelty and beauty and stylistic falls, caused by the excessive need of softening the final part and by the desire to tell details maybe superfluous as regards the result.
Little gems inside the work are to be indicated into the performance of Sebastian Koch, who plays the main character’s father in law, and the musical accompaniment of the composer Max Richter, who managed to give the accent of the great theatrical drama, now lost but putative father of these challenging and lyrical cinematographic efforts.