Magazine article Screen International

'Amnesia': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Amnesia': Review

Article excerpt

Dir. Barbet Schroeder. Switz-Fr. 2015. 96mins.

Amnesia is the name of a famous Ibiza nightclub; it's also, in Barbet Schroeder's new film, a reference to Germany's collective post-war memory loss. Yoking the two together must have seemed like a good idea on paper, but this plodding drama, centring on the friendship between a young German DJ and an ageing expatriate, never shakes the dust offthe pages.

The fact that the film is a return to the Mediterranean island that featured in Schroeder's cult 1969 hippy-era debut film, More – a restored version of which is also playing in Cannes – will attract some attention from hardcore cineastes, but otherwise Amnesia will have a tough job gaining much traction in cinemas. Forty-somethings expecting to be taken back to a misspent youth of Ibiza all-nighters will be disappointed: though it's set in 1990, at the height of Balearic beat's popularity, the music is never more than an occasional backdrop, and the ecstasy-fuelled club scene has been sanitised for general audiences.

There is apparently a great deal of Schroeder's mother in the character of Martha (Keller), a 70-year-old exile from her native land who lives in an idyllic white villa just above the rocky coastline, with no electricity. She refuses to speak German, drive German cars or drink German wine. When a shy friendship begins to blossom with Jo (Riemelt), her young, clean-scrubbed DJ neighbour, she keeps her nationality a secret and they speak in English (though it's odd that someone who works with sound would be so deaf to her accent). Jo mixes dance tapes, and his ambition is to land a booking at Amnesia, then one of the island's top venues and the incubator of the Balearic sound. …

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