- 1 hr 41 min
Tuvalu is a visually striking German silent film from 1999, directed by Veit Helmer. Set entirely in the dilapidated swimming pool of a crumbling spa town, the film follows the daily routine of Anton (Denis Lavant), a man who works as a janitor and pool attendant while taking care of his bedridden father (Philippe Clay). Though the town is gradually being demolished around him, Anton persists in his duties, unaware that his life is about to undergo a dramatic change.
The film creates a dreamlike atmosphere through its use of slow-motion sequences, surreal settings, and exaggerated expressions. This is particularly evident in the character of Anton, whose expressive face and physical antics harken back to the silent cinema of the early 20th century. Lavant's performance is nuanced and compelling, conveying a sense of melancholy and longing without the use of dialogue.
The arrival of Eva (Chulpan Khamatova), a beautiful young woman who has come to the town with the intention of buying it from the mayor, sets in motion a series of events that will upend Anton's life. Eva's presence brings a new vitality to the town, awakening Anton's desires and leading him on a quest to save the pool from being destroyed.
Tuvalu is a film that defies easy categorization. It contains elements of comedy, romance, and drama, yet its unique blend of styles and genres creates a wholly original work. The film is also notable for its use of music, which ranges from classical to contemporary and enhances the film's emotional impact.
One of the film's most striking features is its production design. The swimming pool around which the film is set is a remarkable creation, featuring elaborate mechanized systems for filling and draining the pool, as well as an array of dilapidated structures that serve as Anton's living quarters. The pool itself is a metaphor for the ebb and flow of life, representing both decay and renewal.
Though the film is largely silent, it is not entirely devoid of sound; the film employs a judicious use of sound effects and occasional snippets of dialogue to enhance the storytelling. This use of sound serves to heighten the film's emotional impact, creating a counterpoint to the protagonist's silence.
Tuvalu is a film that invites interpretation, with its surreal imagery and dreamlike narrative inviting viewers to read into its themes of decay, renewal, and the passage of time. It is a film that lingers in the mind long after viewing, its haunting images and elegiac tone creating a sense of contemplation and melancholy.
In conclusion, Tuvalu is a visually stunning and emotionally resonant work of cinema. Director Veit Helmer has created a unique and haunting film that lingers in the mind long after viewing. With its striking imagery, memorable performances, and evocative score, Tuvalu is a cinematic experience that is not to be missed.
Tuvalu is a 2002 fantasy movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 41 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 58.