JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Centre of My World (Director/Screenwriter: Jakob M. Erwa) - January 23, 2017

Centre of My World

Die Mitte der Welt

4 4
155 min.

Reviewed for the 2017 edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Love so cruel

From Austrian director-writer Jakob Erwa comes a visually intriguing (most notably the expertly rendered time shifts) realization of Andreas Steinhöfel’s novel of a purposely single mother, Glass (Sabine Timoteo seems to be right in her element as the anti-establishment, do-what-I-Iike free spirit) who has no qualms about raising her boy-girl twins singlehandedly.

Dianne (the elder is moodily played by Ada Stappenbeck) has a mysterious habit of disappearing most nights and offers no explanation but silence. Phil (doing double duty as narrator and central character, the boyish looking Louis Hofmann brings much joy to his portrayal) returns from camp (French language, no less) only to be instantly smitten when new student to school (but not the neighbourhood) Nicholas engages in a brazen flirtation-by-tank top with the young gay man looking for first love. Jannik Shümann’s good looks and alluring physique are sure to keep hearts fluttering from both sexes as his character teaches Phil far more about the dangers of the L-word than his send-away-the-next boyfriend mother ever could.

Kat, the third wheel and soon anything goes fag hag to both, comes in the precocious personage of Svenja Jung.

To keep the slight plot moving forward (and back to when the twins barely knew they were alive) the mystery of “Who is my father?” sticks around like an unwanted guest: Mom’s lips—for reasons unknown—are sealed.

The film works best when silliness abounds (Kat and Phil preferring to wear their parfait ice cream sparkles than eat them; the three amigos horsing around at the local swimming hole—momentarily foreshadowing the predictable betrayal to come). The darker bits—especially relating to Dianne’s secret and ability to attract animals for good or evil—teeter on the abyss of credibility.

When it’s time for the sex, the temperature rises considerably with just enough courageous exposure from the principals to make those scenes ring true as a bell (unlike Retake, a gay road story that could use a lot more sizzle with its steak, cross-reference below).

Finding the centre of one’s world is a daunting task at best, but from this production’s point of view, it’s probably more achievable by showing love than explicitly saying it. JWR

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Director/Screenwriter - Jakob M. Erwa
Music - Paul Gallister
Based on a novel by - Andreas Steinhöfel
Cinematography - The Chau Ngo
Production Design - Veronika Merlin
Editor - Carlotta Kittel
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Palm Springs International Film Festival
Cross-reference(s): Please click on the image link(s) below
for related work:

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