Love in the time of arthri­tis

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film -

THERE WAS ev­ery dan­ger that this well-acted, wryly amus­ing Ger­man film could have gone badly wrong. De­tail­ing a love af­fair be­tween a woman in her mid-60s and a man 10 years her se­nior – and fea­tur­ing a hand­ful of fairly ex­plicit sex scenes – the project pos­i­tively in­vites the viewer to squirm with un­ease. But it is to the di­rec­tor’s credit that, as events progress, the char­ac­ters’ age ceases to be an is­sue and their clearly drawn per­son­al­i­ties take over. There is tragedy and awk­ward­ness here, but Cloud 9 never feels like a chore.

An­dreas Dre­sen, an ex­pe­ri­enced di­rec­tor in many gen­res, of­fers us a fairly sim­ple story. An ap­par­ently con­tent­edly mar­ried older woman, who makes ends meet by sewing and mend­ing, falls into the arms


of one of her clients. Their re­la­tion­ship be­gins as a sex­ual frolic, but, as time passes, she be­gins to fall in love.

Ig­nor­ing her daugh­ter’s ad­vice to keep the af­fair quiet, she breaks the news to her ec­cen­tric hus­band and pre­pares for a ma­jor change in cir­cum­stances.

All three main ac­tors at­tack their roles with such con­vic­tion that the film’s at­tempt to ad­dress An Im­por­tant Is­sue never seems hec­tor­ing or schematic. Util­is­ing slightly blurry dig­i­tal video to good ef­fect, Dre­sen draws strik­ing con­trasts be­tween the bland­ness of a mod­ern bed­room and the ver­dant en­ergy of a field full of flow­ers.

Cloud 9 is, also, oc­ca­sion­ally quite funny. In­deed, the pic­ture’s por­trait of the pro­tag­o­nist’s odd hus­band – he reads the pa­per in the nude and lis­tens to LP records of com­muter trains – fea­tures so many mildly neg­a­tive Ger­man stereotypes that it would not seem out of place in this week’s Brüno.

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