Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 23rd, 2015
BluRay released: March 10th, 2015
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono German, DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
There are two themes that are central to understanding this film’s protagonist. The first theme is her obsession with a pop star named ‘R’ with whom she has become so entranced that now her whole worlds revolves around adoring him. The second theme is that of isolation and how it ultimately drives her to a point of no return. And the combination of these two things are a huge contributor to her escalating paranoia.
When this film first begins Simone, this film’s protagonist has already fallen down her rabbit hole. Also there is never a time throughout this film were we are ever given a glimpse of what she was like before her current mental state set in. And though more back-story is always welcomed, it is not necessary with this film which takes on a less is more approach to the story at hand. Where the majority of similar themed films feature a narrative that allows the protagonist to come full circle and realize where they went wrong. That is not the case here as this film, since its protagonist lacks a conscious and is devoid of any sympathetic qualities.
When one takes into consideration the subject matter in Der Fan (The Fan), it should not come as a surprise that the film’s score plays an integral role in this film. With the pulsating score perfectly setting the mood and driving the narrative. Also the score for this film was composed and performed by Rheingold, a German new wave group that released a trio of albums between 1980 and 1984. And besides providing the score for Der Fan (The Fan), Rheingold’s other connection to the film is that their lead singer Bodo Steiger would appear in the film in the role of ‘R’ the pop star that this film’s protagonist obsesses over. He gives a well-balanced performance that more than fulfills the requirements of being the object of desire.
And though there are myriad of reasons or things that can go awry in any film production. Casting more than anything else can make or break a film. There are adequate performances, there are great performances and then there are those who were born to portray a specific role. It is this latter one that most strive for and in regards to Der Fan (The Fan) that is exactly what they got when they cast Désirée Nosbusch in the role of Simone. Outwardly she perfectly embodies the role, while emotionally she gives an utterly convincing performance that is beyond terror. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that the things that her character does in this film’s finale act are not for the faint of heart.
From a visual stand point the director ensures that no frame is not used for maximum effect. Also on things that one will quickly notice in regards to this film’s visuals is its use of Nazi inspired imagery. This is most noticeable during the performance clip that ‘R’ is shooting for a TV show. Also pacing is never an issue as this film’s narrative is always on the move.
The best way to approach this film is to go into with no preconceived notions. The first hour of the film follows around the protagonist as she dreams of being with ‘R’ and once she finally meets him there is still a melodrama vibe to the events that had unfolded to that point. It is not until this film shocking final act that things take a drastic turn and then this is where things take on a much darker turn. Fortunately once this film does reach its said payoff moment the reward is well worth the wait.
Der Fan (The Fan) comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors saturation looks very good and there are several instances where the colors really pop. And though the image generally looks crisp throughout, darker moments lack the same clarity that is present during daytime / brighter moments. It should also be mentioned that during some of these darker moments that are a few minor issues with artifacts. And there are no issues with DNR and grain looks natural.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono German and a DTS-HD mono in English. Both audio mixes sound great, as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Range wise the film’s score sounds appropriately robust and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented throughout. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras include text based bios for screenwriter / director Eckhart Schmidt, actress Désirée Nosbusch and actor Bodo Steiger, two essays, the first one about about Rheingold and the German New Wave and the second one about Der Fan (The Fan). The main extra included with this release is an interview with Eckhart Schmidt (19 minutes 56 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in German with English subtitles),
Topics discussed by Eckhart Schmidt include, his early days as a filmmaker, how all of his protagonists are women, the origins of Der Fan (The Fan), how it evolved into a film and its main themes rebirth and National Socialism, cast and his thoughts on their performances, the film’s score, the look of the film and how difficulties with cameramen lead to him being his own cameramen ion the majority of the films he has made, how there was an alternate ending that was shot due to censorship (this alternate ending was quickly removed and discarded) and the negative reaction from critics towards the film.
Rounding out the extras is the Mondo Macabro preview trailer (9 minutes 37 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen). Also included with this release is a DVD counterpart that includes all the contents present on the Blu-Ray disc included with this release. Overall Der Fan (The Fan) is another first rate release from Mondo Macabro, highly recommended.