Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Solitude in company: Thomas Stuber's original, bittersweet and beautiful IN THE AISLES

It may not be the first film to adapt a Strauss waltz to an unusual visual, but for the most part IN THE AISLES, the new film from Thomas Stuber (he directed and co-wrote it with Clemens Meyer), is an original work of humanist art.

Beginning with its locale -- a kind of German version of Costco during, mostly, the graveyard shift -- the movie introduces a set of characters who slowly grow on you until you come to love them and want to care for them as though they were your very own.

Mr. Stuber, shown at right, takes his sweet time with all of this, so if you demand action and car chases, do please move along. Yet as quiet as all this is, it is also never for a moment boring.

This is due to a screenplay that doles out its information haltingly and pretty much in the manner that these characters themselves would offer it. They don't like to intrude -- on each other or even, it seems, on themselves.

The actors chosen for these roles are very good indeed, and even if you've seen them previously, the characters they play here will seem ideally matched with the performers.

The young man who acts as a kind of guide for us -- because, as the film begins, he is being trained for his first day on the job -- is Christian, played by Franz Rogowski (above, of Transit and Happy End). The object, soon, of Franz's affection is a pert and pretty co-worker named Marion (Sandra Hüller, below, of Toni Erdmann) .

Our "newbie" (Marion's pet name for Christian) is under the tutelage of long-time employee Bruno, whose initial gruff manner belies a sad heart of gold. As played by Peter Kurth, below, left -- the lead villain (one of them, anyway) from Babylon Berlin -- Bruno is a wonderful character, rich, deep and quiet, and one who grows and grows on us, until....

All of the night shift employees, no matter how small the role, are brought to fine and specific life here. Eventually this small group and its place of work becomes a world in itself, one that we are only too happy to abide in for the 125 minutes we're allowed to. In the Aisles proves a small, alternately bright and dark, wonder.

From Music Box Films, in German with English subtitles, the movie opens this Friday, June 14, in New York City at the Village East Cinema, and in Los Angeles on Friday, June 21, at Laemmle's Royal and on June 21 and over the weeks to come expanding to another 15 cities and theaters, including the Bill Cosford Cinema here in the Miami area on July 5. Click here, then scroll down to click on Theatrical Engagements to view all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters.

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