Viennale 2014 – Day 12: Stimmen (Voices)

StimmenStimmen (Voices)
Austria 2014
Written by Mara Mattuschka
Directed by Mara Mattuschka

This movie sounded really interesting and promising – so interesting and promising in fact, that it was one of the reasons why I decided to take the day off to catch a midmorning-screening. Ok, granted, the chance to see “Olive Kitteridge” on the big screen for free, shortly after it debuted on HBO (which should give you an idea how far behind I am on these reviews), admittedly played an even bigger part in this decision, but still – and despite not having seen a movie by Mara Mattuschka before – I looked forward to seeing this. Mostly because of the description in the Viennale programme, which unfortunately made me expect a totally different movie than the one I was ultimately getting.

See, the way I understood the short description of the plot that was printed in the programme, I expected “Stimmen” to be a visual interpretation of the inner struggle of a man between different aspects of his personality. A young boy, a teenager, a woman, and his adult self in a tête-à-tête, taking place in a small apartment that represents his mind. That could have been interesting, but instead, “Stimmen” was far more fantastical than I expected. Because, you see, the apartment isn’t just a visual representation of Alex’ mind (and whoever leaves it is in charge of his body – which in itself would have been strange enough), but it’s actually possible for other people to enter the apartment and to meet Alex’s other personalities. Which I just couldn’t get into; that was far too weird for me. And that’s only the beginning! “Stimmen” also features a scene where Sandra, Alex’ female personality, lures his therapist into her room (in the cellar, of course, since she appears to be some sort of devilish creature), sleeps with him, and just a couple of days later gives birth. Now… maybe you’re into this kind of crazy shit, but it just was far too nonsensical for my taste.

It didn’t help that I felt that “Stimmen” used total “movie logic” when it comes to depicting a split personality (then again, I’m not a psychology scholar, so maybe I’m wrong). Overall, I just couldn’t buy into any of it, and thus couldn’t take the movie seriously. I also didn’t relate to Alex or one of his sub-personalities. Consequently, I just didn’t find my way into the movie, and ended up feeling rather bored for most of it’s running time, simply waiting for whatever crazy shit Mara Mattuschka had in store for us next. Granted, there were a couple of nice scenes, the acting was pretty good (especially Alexander Fennon and Julia Schranz), and despite not quite being able to totally hide the rather cheap way this was produced (“Stimmen” was financed at least partially via the crowdfunding-platform “Startnext”), it still looked ok. Ultimately, though, this just wasn’t my cup of tea.


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