The Dreamed Ones Screen 90 of 10 reviews

The Dreamed Ones

2016

The Dreamed Ones Poster
  • The letters cover over 20 years and lifetimes of passion and regret. Slowly, the past and present collapse and compress. Ruth Beckermann’s deceptively simple cinematic idea abounds with unexpected layers of emotion.

  • As the possibility of making plush, decorative film biographies becomes less and less of a financially feasible prospect, Austrian director Ruth Beckermann has found an extremely effective antidote to such prestige follies in her beautiful, lightly experimental performance film, The Dreamed Ones.

  • Out of this informal rehearsal setting two narratives unfold: the intensely affecting letters of a turbulent post-war relationship spanning across Europe and almost twenty years, and that of the actors as they attempt to understand and respond to the letters in pauses between takes. The understated, unfinished quality of The Dreamed Ones – caught in the process of becoming – makes for a mesmerising and highly imaginative documentary.

  • It’s this correspondence [between Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann] that Beckermann’s film focuses on, with two young actors reading extracts to each other in a studio, interspersed with their cigarette breaks and wanderings around the building, all of which capture a blossoming chemistry. The result is mysterious and affecting, a meditation on the power of words and how history can touch our present in oblique and surprising ways.

  • After nodding off through a few lukewarm pools of “painterly” art cinema, Ruth Beckermann’s minimalist The Dreamed Ones was a welcome splash of cold water... The approach succeeds largely on the chemistry and charisma of “leads” Anja Plaschg and Laurence Rupp, seen wavering in and out of character between smoke breaks and sessions at the microphone, returned to each time with amplified emotional effect, and in the final measure heartbreaking.

  • Forging a work of profound beauty about the timelessness and universality of love and heartbreak (and yes, cyclical hatred and social divisions), Beckermann employs passages from this extraordinary, compulsively readable, and cumulatively wrenching two-decade correspondence to reveal an impossible love wedded to the trauma of the times.

  • Austrian director Ruth Beckermann summons ghosts from the past with playful experiment The Dreamed Ones, which revives the letters of key German-language poets Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan.

  • The film bears a surface-level resemblance to the cinema of Straub-Huillet, but Beckermann's direction, camerawork, and editing are slier and more agile, given to punctuation rather than the wide-open expanse of a blank page. In its making-of element, there is also a hint of Harun Farocki's influence, examining art's components coming together through visible labor.

  • It is so many things: we encounter the texts that chart a nearly two decades relationship that begins in ecstasy, swerves towards anger and confusion, and back again, beautiful letters that read (as subtitles) with such feeling and nuance. Even if you don’t understand the German as it is spoken—I do not—you cannot but be moved by the aural tones of Plaschg and Rupp’s readings, which as recitations of joy, yearning, hate and anguish are a success.

  • A film I intuitively vibed with, but would completely understand anyone being simply nonplussed or actively hostile towards... For all its stand-offishness, it’s a surprisingly affecting film.

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