The Princess And The Warrior
Details: (G), 135 mins, Germany, English
Synopsis: Psychiatric nurse Sissi (Franka Potente) is hit by a truck, saved by a stranger on the run from the police – and fascinated by the notion that perhaps it was fate bringing him into her life. She tracks him down, to find that Bodo (Benno Fürmann) is also running from his own demons and shuns her. When Bodo and his brother Walter (Joachim Krol) attempt to rob a bank, Sissi again crosses his path, this time with dramatic consequences. A letter from a distant friend plays a key role in this crucial encounter.
Bodo saves Sissi\'s life. Then he disappears.
The `princess` is Sissi, played by Franka Potente, the star of director Tom Tykwer`s previous success, Run Lola Run. Sissi, a withdrawn, intense young woman, works in the psychiatric ward of a hospital in the city of Wuppertal; the patients adore her, some of them more than they should. Across town the `warrior`, Bodo, Benno Furmann, an ex-soldier, lives in a hilltop shack with his brother and has various jobs, including one in a funeral home, which provides a tenuous link to Sissi. The paths of these two lonely people finally cross in the most frighteningly dramatic way....Tom Tykwer is one of those directors hooked on the medium itself. He has an exceptional vision, and a completely confident way of using every element of cinema. His widescreen camerawork is dazzling, the staging of key scenes, like the truck accident which brings the lovers together or the bank robbery, is quite brilliant, and he`s a real romantic. He also uses music, which he partly composes himself, really well. The Princess And The Warrior isn`t quite in the same class as Run Lola Run; it`s too long for one thing. But it`s bursting with ideas, it`s exciting and sexy and funny and visionary, and I had a great time with it.
At times this requires a leap of faith into unreality, or surreality but, maybe, life is like that now.
The title sounds like the latest Hong Kong historical actioner. In fact it is another strange crime caper from German director Tom Tykwer. Tykwer’s growing reputation mainly rests upon two films. One was Winter Sleepers (1997), a creepy, snow-bound thriller. The other was Run Lola Run (1998). Lola had great kinetic energy and lots of inventive moments and of course, the central indefatigable performance from rising star Franka Potente. This film is like a cross between those two former efforts.
The plot has two strands. Sissi (Potente) is an over-committed psych nurse. In her Cuckoos Nest-style white-walled ward she is the object of every male patient’s desire. Seemingly unable to resist any entreaty, she even overshoots her duty of care to the extent of giving night time hand relief to a patient who loves her.
Into this already crazy life, stumbles a handsome bank robber. Sissi invites him to hide out in her psych ward (as you would) thereby providing the crucible for the explosive ending.
Tykwer can be tricksy, even ‘postmodern’, but he also wants to gets to grips with alienation in present day Germany. At times this requires a leap of faith into unreality, or surreality but, maybe, life is like that now.
Potente continues to grow. Her sleepy-eyed charm and wonderful naturalness in front of the camera anchors the film and gives us the vital point of entry into this alienated world.
Watch Films Online
Films on SBS TV
SBS Film Guide to...
Celebrate Australian filmmaking with this home-grown season. Starts May 25.
A month of movies with an edge. Saturday nights in April.