Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mina Tannenbaum


Mina Tannenbaum; Drama, Netherlands/ France/ Belgium, 1993; D: Martine Dugowson, S: Romane Bohringer, Elsa Zylberstein, Nils Tavernier, Florence Thomassin

A TV crew is making a documentary about the deceased painter Mina Tannenbaum while all the people who knew her look into the camera and talk how she was a good person. Mina was born in the 1950's in Paris, on the same day as her future frind Ethel. Mina and Ethel met first time in '68 and ever since remained inseperable friends. As teenagers they unsucussefully seduced boys while Mina decided to study painting and art. She fell in love with a guy who studied with her, but he was already in a relationship. At 30, Mina had her own gallery while Ethel became a reporter. A car crash left Mina with a scar on her face and she argued with Ethel because she stole Jacques away from her, even though she didn't even look at him before. Due to loneliness, Mina committed suicide.

It's not a matter of a cheap soap opera, but a gentle, calm, wise drama with a mild touch of fantasy: "Mina Tannenbaum" (did Anderson maybe found his inspiration here for the title of his movie "The Royal Tenenbaums"?) is the feature length debut film of director Martine Dugowson who again collaborated with actresses Elsa Zylberstein and Romane Bohringer in her next film "Shadow Play". And it's not surprising, since the real star here is the splendid Bohringer who plays the shy title heroine from her teenage days with glasses up to her mature age when she entered a crisis. Despite the fact that the story is quite simple and straight forward, Dugowson inserted a few really pleasant surprises: the best scene is when Mina and Ethel meet on April 2 '68 as little kids, while the auras of two old men are observing them from the sky and saying: "See, didn't I tell you they would meet on April 2 '68?" - "No, you said it was May 2!". In another scene, while Mina and Ethel are arguing their souls exit their bodies and fight, while Mina even meets herself as a kid in one instance. Touching and inventive, this was one of the best movies of the year.

Grade:+++

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