Father-Son movies touch me more than usual, and Polish/German Director Piotr Lewandowski’s film ‘Jonathan’ hits me right to my core. Watching it felt like being punched in the stomach. Jonathan is a young man who is taking care of her father, who is terminally ill with cancer, on his second stage of chemotherapy. He has given up his life and made sacrifices to take care of his father. But his father has one big secret he hasn’t told Jonathan: he is gay. And this movie demonstrates that in order to let go of life, you have to put life in one last time.
Jonathan is played by Jannis Niewohner, and he is a most beautiful male specimen. Lewandowski knows this and photographs him in the best light – you cannot help but fall in love with his character: handsome and sensitive, caring for his ill father. When the secret is finally revealed to him, you feel his anguish, and it doesn’t hurt that Niewohner is a fantastic actor, taking you to different emotional journeys throughout the film. But ultimately, the film is about someone waiting to pass, and I don’t know if I could bear watching this film again. But if you are in the mood to make sure you still feel your heart, nothing is better.
‘Nachthelle,’ in German means ‘Bright Star’ in English. It is also a title of the film by Florian Gottschick about four people stuck in a house in East Germany. (I wonder if East Germany looks as drab as how the film photographed it) Anna Bergmann (Anna Grisebach)goes back to her childhood home with her younger boyfriend Stefan (Vladimir Burkalov) and while there, she sees her ex-boyfriend Bernd (Benno Fuehrmann) and his psychologist boyfriend Marc (Kai Ivo Baulitz) What happens next is weird – Anna asks the guys to stay for the night and a secret is revealed. And what happens after is even weirder, involving an accident with Anna, and then we see another version of Anna seeing another version of events that just took place. Maybe I am dense, but I never really fully understood what really happened, but I guess it shouldn’t matter, and maybe that’s not the whole point of the movie. Maybe it’s a German psychology thing that I do not know about (They quote Kafka) or something about the poem that the title is based on. But what is on screen is interesting enough, I guess, and Grisebach is a great engaging actress that achieves close to making you believe everything going on – even if you don’t understand it.