The central image of Till Kleinert debut film is an androgynous figure roaming the empty streets of a village in the middle of the night dressed in a wedding dress and holding a samurai sword! It’s an intriguing bloodthirsty fairy tale with a difference. Berlin born Kleinert not only directed Der Samurai (2014) he also wrote the screenplay. Shown at the Leeds International Film Festival it missed a general cinematic release and went straight to DVD in the UK.
This is the second German film I have seen recently involving the return of wolfs across Germanys Eastern borders. The first Wild (2016), which I saw in Berlin in April, was about a young woman who shares her appointment with a wolf and forms a relationship with the animal that crosses the line between love and lust.
In Kleinert’s movie a wolf wanders the woods on the edge of a small village on the German-Polish border. Jakob (Michel Diercks), a young boyish and unassuming local police officer tries to befriend the animal by leaving raw meat hanging in the trees. But while in the woods he senses something more in the darkness. When he takes it upon himself to deliver a package to a part derelict house on the edge of the village he comes across a man (Pit Bukowski), who has a wild gaze, a wiry body and shoulder length hair, dressed in what would appear to be a wedding frock. The package contains a Japanese sword with which this stranger intends to wreak havoc on both the village and its inhabitants. He invites Jacob, whose parents are dead and who lives with his aging grandmother, to join him.
Is there a connection between the wolf and our violent transvestite? We get to witness an erotic dance scene between the two men which in it self forces the viewer to ask if these two men are a different side of the same character and have we been observing a dream sequence or are we meant to be questioning the young police officers sexuality?
The movie has what I would describe as symbolic violence as most of it is implied and not actually seen on screen. That is until the final scene when The Samurai appears naked, his erect penis turned on by the thought of death. A very dark and surreal DVD that was definitely worth liberating from the bargain bin at HMV.