Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 6th, 2008
Release Dates: Germany, 2007 (Gedankengang), Germany, 2008 (Schattenspiel)
Approximate running times: 16 minutes (Gedankengang), 30 minutes (Schattenspiel)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen
Director: Wolfram Bange
Writer: Wolfram Bange
Cinematographer: Wolfram Bange
Composers: Phelios, Artrium Carceri (Gedankengang), Phelios, Iceleben (Schattenspiel)
Cast: Stefan Job, Anna Sosnik, Gudrun Urban, Thomas Dechmann-Sültemeyer, Klara Kofen (Gedankengang), Anna Sosnik, Christian Loffelsend, Marius Schafranietz, Wibke Schutt, IIse Bange, Stefan Job (Schattenspiel)
Gedankengang: A detective’s obsession with a killer pushes him over the edge.
The plot for Gedankengang recounts interactions between a detective and a killer who killed someone close to him. The killer in the film is cut in the mold of a Hannibal Lecture like killer with the way he approaches his killings. The detective who purses him is reminiscent of the type of detectives that often populate film noir’s. The story is direct and to the point with just enough back-story to give the main characters some depth. Visually the film’s minimal sets and sparse lighting harkens back to style present in so many film noir’s. The acting is good enough that no performance stands out as weak or pulls you out of the story. Overall Gedankengang is an ambitious short film that achieves the majority of its goal.
Schattenspiel: A young woman plagued by a childhood trauma has trouble sleeping.
The plot for Schattenspiel revolves around a young woman named Madleen who struggles to find the cause behind her restlessness. As her journey progresses she becomes more disoriented until the revelation of what triggered her trauma is unveiled. The pacing is slightly overlong as the film’s premise feels like it has been stretched out, thus lessening the impact of the film’s ending. Visually the film does a superb job conveying Madleen’s nightmare as it unfolds. The film’s visual is at times reminiscent of the style employed in the German expressionism cinema of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The acting is more than adequate with the lead performance from Anna Sosnik being the film’s strongest asset. Overall Schattenspiel does a good job conveying a woman on the brink of a breakdown and her eventual salvation.
Both of these short films were directed by Wolfram Bange, who despite his limited resources creates two riveting thrillers. Both shorts are filled with a lot of style and inventiveness. Another strength of both productions is the way the exploit the locations they used.
Note: Both shorts have been released on DVD. The current editions have the main feature only with English subtitles while the extra content is in German with no English subtitles. For more information about these two short film’s go here.