Gutland (Govinda Van Maele, 2017): Luxembourg, Germany

Reviewed by Keyu Zhu. Viewed at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, 2018

Govinda Van Maele’s latest thriller Gutland 

Govinda Van Maele’s latest thriller Gutland gave us a big surprise by its fascinating and creative settings. The confusion, mystery and strangeness are the catchy element for this psychological thriller. The story is about a long-hair foreigner-look man Jens (acted by Frederick Lau went to a stranger village and looked for a harvest job. However, he is actually a thief who has been fleeing from German. As he finally found a job and place to live, he noticed that everything was so strange out there that made him feel confused. People treated them well but he still felt comfortable because he felt like an outsider. He had an uncomfortable sex with Lucy (acted by Vicky Krieps) who lived in this village and then her dad offered him a job as a farmland. As he lived here for long, he found that the village and the people around him are not really like the way they look like. He found a series of pictures of nude women and one day he met a woman who look like Lucy. He started to follow her to the forest and then she just disappeared in the darkest. One day he found a abandoned house in the forest but he was never told from the local people. The life seemed to get better and better until he saw a dead body outside..

The theme of this movie is dark, thrilling and just like the misty weather in the beginning of the movie, which is mysterious and blurry. The most incredible work of this movie is that Govinda Van Maele knew how to set up the mystery and what most audience would like to see based on that mystery. The use of sounding is perfectly well in this movie, I can hear the violin and piano sound inside, also the jazz. Those are playing the positive role in this movie that make the movie more thrilling.

There is something that the movie needed to improve is that the narrative style, I think the movie is so slow-paced, it might be better if the story will go faster and more straight forward. The genre is thriller and horror. The unique thing about this film is the use of lighting and music. Therefore, it became more thrilling than usual. This is the movie that definitely worth watching twice. There are a lot of interesting settings such as how the parents treat their children, how the farmers treat their children, how the director brought all the stuff into the movie and slowly led them to the climax at the end.

I think the movie is incredible. Although there are a lot of settings such as the endings I don’t understand, it is very creative consisting with a lot of director’s idea and thoughts. The movie might be about shifting between fantasy and reality. I remember there is a scene that the character woke up in a hospital as last, so it might basically be a movie about inner world of a person with psychological disorders. Also, it is the movie that full of directors’ personal style so I like it.


About this entry