The German Film Festival's Krabat is narrated by a voice which has the colour and feel of a person having lived a long and wise life, reminiscent of storybook inspired films which I watched in my childhood, and just enough of a rasp in the voice which has a spine chilling vide.
German Film Festival: Krabat
Being the visual artist that I am, I was drawn into the film Krabat by the opening titles. The dark screen, the music promising mystery, names of the contributing actors materialising from what seemed like dust (actually stylized flour puffs). I settled into my seat, and opened my mind to what I thought was going to be a ‘scary story.’ I don’t like films which frighten me. I become too enthralled by the story, that by the middle of the show – if I’m watching it at home – I must hit the pause button and take a breather, before I continue watching. In a cinema, I am the person who sits crouched their seat, peering through their fingers at the screen. Yes, I’m a big ‘scaredy cat’, and I don’t deny it.
Krabat is narrated by a voice which has the colour and feel of a person having lived a long and wise life, reminiscent of storybook inspired films which I watched in my childhood, and just enough of a rasp in the voice which has a spine chilling vide.
The viewers are led into the film through visuals of a treacherous cold landscape, and introduced to three shivering figures walking across it. One of three figures is Krabat, a young orphan boy in his early teens, who is begging door to door for scraps with his two friends. Who are these boys, and what forced them into this situation? The narrator skillfully leads us further into the story by shedding light on the circumstances of the environment the boys live in.
Krabat and his friends live in a Germany of the seventeenth century, during the Thirty Years’ War, where famine is abundant and where the war has not claimed lives, the plague has done so instead.
Three consecutive nights young Krabat, dreams of ravens* flying above the landscape. A voice calls onto him, promising the end of his famine and shelter, in exchange to his devotion to the Master of the watermill, near the village of Schwarzkollm. The young Krabat heeds to the dreams’ call and arrives at the mill, where he begins his apprenticeship as a miller, along the side of some questionable characters who already work at the mill.
From this point through the rest of the film, director Marco Kreuzpaintner - like the pages in a story book turning and advancing the story to keep the audience interested - takes us on the journey which shows the naive and hungry Krabat embark on and follow the dark path placed in front of him by the Master. One almost feels like shouting to the boy... “don’t do it, the Master is baaad!”
This, like many stories we have been told growing up, has the element of evil disguised as good, luring the innocent, and then the consequent battle of good against evil (i.e. Sleeping Beauty or Little Ridinghood). You can come to your own conclusion as to the ending but, Krabat is executed in such a way that you don’t mind watching a cliché. It’s wonderfully told and definitely worth catching at the local cinema, alone (not scary, I promise) or with children.
*Ravens are symbolic of death and ill fate in Serbian mythology, where the story of Krabat has its roots.
Genre: Coming-of-Age Story, Fantasy
Year of Production: 2008
Director: Marco Kreuzpaintner
Screenplay: Michael Gutmann, Marco Kreuzpaintner
Principal Cast: David Kross, Daniel Brühl, Christian Redl, Robert Stadlober, Paula Kalenberg, Anna Thalbach, Hanno Koffler
Length: 120 min.
Palace Centro Cinema - Wed, 22 April - 11.00 am
Palace Cinema Como - Sun, 19 April - 8.30 pm
Mon, 20 April - 11.00 am
Kino Cinema - Sat, 18 April - 1.30 pm
Cinema Paradiso - Opening night - Thu, 16 April - 6.30 pm
Chauvel Cinema - Sat, 25 April - 9.00 pm
Palace Norton Street Cinemas - Sun, 26 April - 1.45 pm