Cinema-Maniac: Nekromantik (1987) Review

Banned films generate an interest in me unlike any other kind of films. By nature it is easy to assume that these banned films have content that goes past the boundary good taste, but what about how it’s made and what it has to say. Not every story can be toned down to get its message across applying the same to what it shows. If done correctly such a film can be consider art regardless of the content, but “Nekromantik” says otherwise. Why have substance to tied together a series of ugly scenes to leave a impression with the message it wants to get across.

Nekromantik follows a street sweeper who cleans up grisly accidents bringing home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him. That synopsis gives away a majority of what occurs in the film. No characterization, no motifs, no metaphors, banal dialogue, no subplots, and no plot bring any meaning. Fundamentally with these story techniques broken it’s inapprehensible to obtain a reason to care for it has to say. It doesn’t matter what absent is a cohesive narrative and characters, but how it chooses to get across it point that should be criticize. How it says it message is stringed together by scenes that have little to no correlation to the preceding events. Literally opening with a women pissing in the field after providing a warning label to not show the film to minors. She gets back into a car with her husband to only to crash on the road because they weren’t paying attention. Showing the death of these characters play no importance to the film neither in their living moments or their corpses is redundant without establishing its own key ingredients. Repeating this pattern in its short duration with seemingly random stock footage of a rabbit getting his throat slit, and then see the blood drain out onto the ground as it twitches and breathing his last breath. Later the protagonist flashback again to his rabbit being hung upside down, skinned, eyes are torn out of the remains of his head, and has the rabbit inside pulled out. At first this flashback has no semblance with what occurring in the scene. It isn’t until the ending that it’s vaguely (in the thinnest possible way) explained it triggered the protagonist desire of the dead. When it chooses to provide background on the protagonist whatever the plot point may be is meaningless when introduce. Since the protagonist is a walking, singular purpose plot device there’s no significance to be immediately found on his journey.

It has scenes where there is some meaning to be found. For example, the protagonist goes to a movie theater and he is disgusted by the violence on screen while the rest of the viewers are empathetic. The point this scene makes is clear that exposure to fictional violence desensitizes real violence. I don’t have to agree with the film message, but if it claims responsibility to attempt to convince it should at least try to do so. Something it fails since the basic storytelling techniques are broken. Despite clocking around seventy-five minutes the film manages to make a scene where a couple has sex with a corpse boring. That’s right a film that makes corpse sex boring. Without substance to support itself it damages its own message delivery. Throughout the film it gives the viewer little to go on and even less in context. All you could do is guess which leaves you filling in the holes of lazy writing. Like the film warning said it shouldn’t be shown to minor and I agree because if it can’t execute what it’s trying to convey then why should anyone see it including minors with morbid curiosity.

Director Jorg Buttergereit spares all expenses when it came to filming. Looking very poorly shot on a bad super 8 camera with the grainy video quality. Acting is poor with actors given very little dialogue to be said. Under poor direction the conversations despite there being very little sound robotic and unnatural. Without dialogue the actors to an extent have body movement convey little. Since the characters receive non substantial development the actors aren’t sure are how to react in a given situation. Despite Bernd Daktari Lorenz portraying a character who collects human bodies parts (gore is substituted by animal organs) and a necrophiliac he shows expression of disgust when bathing in the blood of a dead cat (which he killed in a earlier scene). Editing is terrible drowning out the instances the actors do speak. Sound drop and rises in quality at seemingly random or have long stretches where music of notable production problems. The music is minimal and the track it uses is the best thing about the film. John Boy Walton’s “Menage A Trios” juxtapose the happy, upbeat music with Rob’s violent perversions. This score is the closest the film comes to disgust that is earned by effort and not imagery. Either that or the score expresses director Jorg Buttergereit excitement in seeing a man stabbing himself.

Nekromantik for all it intentions to shock has a point to get across, but getting to it will have you fight a battle against boredom. Non existent characters, no cohesive story, and poor production values leaves very little to gain. Where it fails the most how it executes its story to a get a point across without substance to what it does. Its protagonist might prefer the dead to the living, but filmgoers will prefer better films that touch on the taboo subject matter without sacrificing competent filmmaking.

2/10

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