Thursday 22 June 2017

The Erlprince (film review)

Goethe's Poem The Erlking acts as inspiration for (and is spoken during) this coming of age drama. The protagonist is a 15 year old physics genius (Stanislaw Cywka) who has just moved to a new city with his over-protective single mother (Agnieszka Podsiadlik). His absent father, who works at a wolf sactuary, makes occasional appearances. The characters never address each other by name.

The young man is a troubled soul obsessed with the end of the world and the possible existence of other dimensions. The narrative follows his experiments into finding a way of linking between dimensions and describes our understanding the boundaries between dimensions as being like the boundary between water and air as seen from the point of view of fish.

The young man is reluctant to follow his mother's instructions to apply for a presitgious scientific award and becomes lost in a world where his own imaginings blur with reality to a disorientating degree. This disorientation is brilliantly enhanced through the score and often disjointed cinematography. Nature and landscape are  used brilliantly to create atmosphere - the mythical wolf pack, the misty lake, the narrow passages between rocky cliffs.

Can the young man negotiate the tricky path from adolescence to adulthood or will his world actually come to an end?

This magical, diturbing and brilliantly weird coming of age film is showing as part of the Focus on Poland strand of Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017.

The Erlprince is screening at 1540 Saturday 24 June and 2040 Monday 26 June, both at the Odeon, Lothian Road. You can book here.

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