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Schmitke

Czech Republic/Germany 2014. Dir: Stepan Altrichter. 94 min. Blu-ray Disc

VANCOUVER PREMIERE | Something strange — very, very strange — is afoot in this delicate, decidedly offbeat comedy-mystery, the debut feature of young Czech director Stepan Altrichter. German character actor Peter Kurth is creaky, pokerfaced Schmitke, a German wind-turbine engineer sent to a town on the Czech side of the misty Ore Mountains to fix one of his old contraptions. Along for the job is his yappy, inept younger co-worker Gruber (Johann Jürgens). Gruber promptly disappears, a mysterious “Bear-man” is reported in the vicinity, and Schmitke starts to “feel” the spirit of the surrounding wilderness. “Uniformly excellent ... A wholly unusual serio-comic portrait of a man finding himself in middle age … Altrichter demonstrates a knack for great visual and aural storytelling” (Elizabeth Kerr, Hollywood Reporter). In Czech and German with English subtitles.

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