SCHMITKE
2014, 90 min, Germany/Czech Republic, Dir: Stepán Altrichter

Like his once state-of-the-art C 174 wind turbine, 57-year-old German engineer Julius Schmitke (Peter Kurth) is past his prime. Intrigued by reports of a hermit known as “Bear-Man” found living alone in the woods, Schmitke begins to dream of deep, dark forests. When a model C 174 breaks down outside a small Czech town on the German border, Schmitke and his subordinate Gruber are sent to repair it, encountering an odd assortment of townspeople and the impenetrable Ore Mountain forest. After Gruber mysteriously vanishes, Schmitke is drawn to the woods. Katharina Grischkowski’s extraordinary sound design contrasts the creaking of the C 174 with the eerie stillness of the forest, heightening the surreal atmosphere provided by Christian Pirjol’s haunting cinematography. Altrichter, who also co-wrote the screenplay, deftly balances the bizarre and the beautiful in this desolate, deadpan comic mystery. In German and Czech with English subtitles.