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Paula (2016), By Christian Schwochow – Review

“By representing the highest synthesis between the tragic and the humorous in the same figure and environment, the German director does nothing more than warn that with Paula he has achieved a totally dignified way of making cinema”

About the director

With his latest film, Christian Schowochow focuses the attention in recent years on Paula Becker, a determined and wide-eyed German painter. The time frame that the film represents, in which seven years of the thirty-one that lived are narrated, is marked by a very strong intensity both on a purely artistic and personal level. This is how, choosing for the main role a Carla Jurl who synthesizes nervousness and innocence in a quite funny way, the director of Rügen will develop before the viewer a story marked by the tug-of-war of the woman with his circumstance, and. Paula is a woman moved by curiosity about paintingthat, in his persevering struggle against a rather closed German region in his theories on art, he manages to move between two radically different worlds: the eminently naturalistic Germany fixated on the idea of  mimesis, on the one hand; on the other, France that exploits in a plurality of possibilities of expression that were already germinating. In the first, which is brought to the screen discovering a landscape that, marked by calm and leisurely relationships, will become splendid and powerful -these elements in which that imitative tendency of nature and a plain spirit is manifested-, Paula will begin to feel that his impulses do not correspond to those of the group in which he moves, differences that are evidenced graphically in that, while the latter follow the regularity of the line, the first will be thrown to one side with the fragmentary stroke of the brush on the canvas. Thus, in a call from a self-absorbed Rilke who is in Paris, Paula will see the definitive excuse to leave the gravitational field of the convention. Paula enters the second world, an art capital that is staged based on the dynamism of the crowd, thus acquiring the film a slightly more frenetic pace – but not suffocating at all – and in which they contrast with the chromatic line that is It had been following the reds and strong greens of the interiors of such wonderfully decadent premises. It is here where the painter will try to adapt to a new measure to which access was forbidden. In a call from a self-absorbed Rilke in Paris, Paula will see the definitive excuse to leave the gravitational field of the convention. 

Paris figured out as another world

Paula enters the second world, an art capital that is staged based on the dynamism of the crowd, thus acquiring the film a slightly more frenetic pace – but not suffocating at all – and in which they contrast with the chromatic line that is It had been following the reds and strong greens of the interiors of such wonderfully decadent venues. It is here where the painter will try to adapt to a new measure to which access was forbidden. In a call from a self-absorbed Rilke in Paris, Paula will see the definitive excuse to leave the gravitational field of the convention. Paula enters the second world, an art capital that is staged based on the dynamism of the crowd, thus acquiring the film a slightly more frenetic pace – but not suffocating at all – and in which they contrast with the chromatic line that is It had been following the reds and strong greens of the interiors of such wonderfully decadent premises. It is here where the painter will try to adapt to a new measure to which access was forbidden. Thus, the film acquired a slightly more frenetic rhythm – but not suffocating at all – and in which they contrasted with the chromatic line that had been following the reds and strong greens of the interiors of such wonderfully decadent premises. It is here where the painter will try to adapt to a new measure to which access was forbidden. Thus, the film acquired a slightly more frenetic rhythm – but not suffocating at all – and in which they contrasted with the chromatic line that had been following the reds and strong greens of the interiors of such wonderfully decadent premises. It is here where the painter will try to adapt to a new measure to which access was forbidden.

Beyond the tear resulting from this split as the engine of the film stream, what Christian Schowochow seems to be doing with Paulais to tell us about the transit. And it is precisely that “not being able to stop still” that will lead the protagonist to move from one side to the other without being stuck in any of them. It is the contrast, therefore, the key that allows the flow of the narration: rural-urban; parsimony-nerve; convention-breakdown; imitation-disfigurement of the object, will be some of the opposites that shape this course. But among all of them there is one that stands out above the rest, establishing itself as the absolute peak of the film by making sense of an essential vibration of life: the game of non-excluding opposites tragedy-humor. It is in this sense that, after all, Christian Schowochow seems to tell us through Paulathat, although the tragic must be accepted as an inescapable element of human life, humor – not blind optimism – is the element that can break that forced line, thus acting as a counterweight that makes movement possible: from crying to laughter and from laughter to tears, without stop. Culminating the materialization of this articulation in a great death for representing the highest synthesis between the tragic and the humorous in the same figure and environment, the German director does nothing more than warn that with Paula he has reached a totally dignified way of making cinema.

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