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The Princess and the Warrior

Director/Writer:Tom Tykwer
Sony Pictures Classics; R; 130 minutes
Release:6/01
Cast:Franke Potente, Benno Fürmann, Joachim Krol

The Princess and the Warrior may be an awkward flop from a filmmaker whose reach, for the first time, has exceeded his talent, but I can't say anything bad about a film whose ending puts one recently deceased character behind the wheel of a goofy bus, picking up the doppelganger of another character in a German cornfield. You gotta respect that.

Run, Lola, Run brought German writer-director Tom Tykwer critical respect and cult success with its upbeat dash through the streets of Berlin as Lola (the aptly named Franke Potente) outsprinted fate. His lesser known first film, (Winter Sleepers ) was completely different, a compelling drama set in a ski resort. The Princess and the Warrior is an attempt to bridge Tykwer's twin styles of mysterious European drama and stylishly fast-paced urban films. It's also a fable, or wants to be.

Potente plays Sissi, a nurse in a mental institution who meets Bodo (Benno Fürmann) underneath a large truck that has just run her over. It's vaguely Bodo's fault, but he saves her life with an excruciatingly well-rendered emergency tracheotomy. The incident kick-starts their enigmatic relationship. Sissi's determined to discover her connection to combative ex-soldier Bodo. The tone and plot shift between serious (tedious some might say; the movie seems much longer than its two hours) and surreal, David Lynch-like inversions of everyday life. The results may be occasionally frustrating, but Tykwer's experimentation with popular film formats is a playful and approachable in a way that far outstrips most allegedly avant-garde filmmakers.


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