Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fantasia '17 Film Review - Animals

Chef Nick (Philipp Hochmair) is not happy at home. He is having an affair with his upstairs neighbour Andrea that he's trying to break off. His wife Anna (Brigit Minichmayr) knows that her husband is no longer interested in her and hopeful that a trip abroad to Switzerland will help their relationship as he works on a new cookbook and she takes a step to Adult writing leaving children books behind. The strangeness starts when their house sitter Mischa (Mona Petri) arrives who could be Andrea's twin. It continues with two significant events. Mischa steps on a skate board falling hits the back of her head leading her to the emergency room.  On the road from Vienna to their Swiss cottage Nick strikes a sheep causing seemingly minor injuries at the time. After these incidents time warps leading the players into a loop not sure what's real or imagined or what events occurred and in what order.

Director and co-writer Greg Zglinski weaves a tale of human relationships interesting with those of everyday animals. The scrip also contains eerie parallels in both settings of Vienna and the Swiss countryside. Both have a women with a head wound bandaged up for healing. Both have a door to a room that's off limits and a black Siamese cat befriending the two lead female characters. But it's in the bending of time where the narrative excels. Mischa returns to the hospital to find the doctor that treated her but he no longer has a distinct feature from their first encounter. Then the incident causing that feature occurs later that evening. Nick and Anna arrive back from town where Nick asks Anna when she will get going on her book? Anna is surprised as she thinks they have only arrived when in fact they have been in Switzerland for 12 days.

Brigit Minichmayr has the most influence on the piece in the role of Anna. She knows from the outset  something is wrong as Nick no longer wants to touch her. He's having odd reactions to cell phone calls and she's convinced he is lying to her about his day trips to gather antidotes for his Swiss  cookbook. On top of this she believes her injury from the accident was not minor as Nick states. Mona Petri is a strong female co lead as Mischa. She fends off Andrea's ex-husband who thinks that she's her. Deals with Anna's hostility when she comes to sublet the apartment and turns in an unexpected physical performance, as mishaps seem to strike her more than the average person.

Animals is a psychological thriller where the Animal world and the human combine. Cats, birds and Sheep provide major plot points for the feature. The main actors deliver in the roles backed by a scrip that brings him the feel and pace of the Swiss countryside. It's a film that I can recommend.

*** Out of 4.

Animals | Greg Zgliniski | Switzerland/ Austria/ Poland | 2017 | 95 Minutes.

Tags: Affair, Writer, Cookbook, Recipes, Sublet, Suicide, Vevey, Fribourg, Sheep, Siamese Cat

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