Monday, June 21, 2010

EIFF Premiere: "My Words, My Lies - My Love" (2009)

Director Alain Gsponer's "My Words, My Lies - My Love" is greatly a film about literature and what it means to be an author, a writer, and the ultimate power that just words on a page can hold. It is also a tender love story and, in small parts, even a comedy and a farce of a thriller.

The story itself revolves around farce, a fallacy, one of fame that is never deserved or warranted. The fame comes to a man named David Kern (Daniel Brühl who appeared in "Inglourious Basterds"), a name that unknowingly to him will soon be known to all. His fame arrives when he tries to simply win the desires of a woman, Marie (Hannah Herzsprung of "The Reader"). David is only a waiter at a local café, and while Marie is a connoisseur of literature, it is unfortunate that David is no man of swift wording.

At a flea market where David first bumps into Marie, he buys an old nightstand with a jammed drawer. Back home he finds inside the drawer an old manuscript, "Sophie, Sophie," by Alfred Duster. He takes the work as his own and hands it to Marie to read. He then, of course, dashes to the nearest bookstore and makes sure the name Alfred Duster isn't anyone well-known. Marie falls in love with the novel, and as a result, she falls in love with David. The question throughout the film then becomes whether she'd love him had he not written the novel. The problem for David, then, is that he indeed has not. Unknowing to David, Marie sends the manuscript to a publisher.

Next thing he knows, an outgoing and showy man named Jacky Stocker (Henry Hübchen) appears spouting stories of how he is David's mentor just in time for the book's resounding success. Turns out that this particular man's pseudonym is Alfred Duster.

What follows is a fascinating portrait of the world of publishing and the influence of media as David's fame grows and Stocker begins posing as his agent to reap the benefits from the novel's success. An overwhelming sense of elevating chaos is created, one that tingles with intrigue and anticipation as David digs himself deeper and deeper into his situation. The plot weaves a web of overlapping lies and deceit to the point where the novel, renamed "Lila, Lila," David didn't even write ends up reflecting his own life anyway.

The ending of "My Words, My Lies - My Love" displays the best of the film's superb writing from Alexander Buresch where words become even more important; characters state how they feel through the written word of others and every phrase gets its own extra layer of meaning and subtext. Curious, then, that the English version of the film's original German title, "Lila, Lila," translates over so poorly.

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