Tuesday, July 15, 2008

DVD of the Week: "Solo Sunny" (Konrad Wolf, 1980)

A few weeks ago, Dave Kehr wrote about “Solo Sunny” in the New York Times and prompted me to watch it as soon as possible, given its new DVD release. Thanks to Kehr’s article, I discovered a tenderly tragic, quietly haunting film of great cultural importance. However, what makes Solo Sunny is great is not just that it is the defining filmic document of East Germany in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The cinematography is richly layered creating two distinct sections within each scene, and practically every frame, providing its own visual analysis of a divided and fragile world. Its drab colors create a somber feeling in the world of Sunny, a difficult singer trying to get a big break. That, of course, is simplifying the richly textured film. With great performances and an assured patience, Sunny’s relationships showcase the fragility of a world that is breaking apart around all of the characters without them even taking notice.

-James Hansen

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