Por Mónica Delgado

GermaniaMaximiliano Schonfeld’s first feature film, describes the last day of two adolescent brothers, Lucas and Brenda, in a small German settler village located in Entre Ríos, an Argentinian province. Before moving and abandoning the farm where they live together with their mother, they are portrayed in a routine of work and leisure, with friends and neighbors. Before moving, they make an attempt to sell the farm and their animals, but rumors among villagers of a curse on the family due to their father’s death, prevent them from achieving their final goals.

Schonfeld gives his film a dry atmosphere of slow dialogues in a German dialect (the original language of his nonprofessional actors). This in itself, produces a sense of alienation, breaking any geopolitical relation with the province they live in and setting a new rural space with its own characteristics and methods of life. If in Stellect LichtCarlos Reygadas proposed getting deep inside the heart of a menonite family in northern México, where all dialogues were in their own native language, in Germania the filmmaker leaves his characters to communicate in their German Volga dialect, which seems an attempt to barely cling to a culture which is deemed to disappear. In a scene, Brenda tells his brother to stop talking in dialect and use Spanish, a language that they use sometimes (mostly when they are alone with their friends).

But Scholfeld’s film is not a tale of lost innocence or sexual awakening neither is it a tale of cultural assimilation in a faraway land. Germania is the construction and elaboration of a series of hints about weak and distorted family links which verge on the taboo, and which the filmmaker translates in a bleak context where he sets his characters: a familiar space that barely appears, a farm filled with chickens with the plague, rugged fields where dead cows are dragged along the way, and depressing and sour polka parties.

Germania is an interesting debut, as it proposes the idea of giving space the dimension of something that eats the inside of their protagonists: a physical drama, filled with suggestions.

Director: Maximiliano Schonfeld
Writers: Maximiliano Schonfeld, Rafael Cardelli
Producers: Fernando Brom, Bárbara Francisco,  Maximiliano Schonfeld
Cinematographer: Soledad Rodriguez
Starring: Margarita Greifenstein, Brenda Krutli, Lucas Schell
75 mins