Manchmal es ist so… Everything comes together. And books and movies find me, giving me clues on what intrigues me, on how life and the world in general work.
“Nichts als Gespenster“ (2007) by Martin Gypkens is a road movie based on Judith Hermann´s short stories. She was the first german author whose book I read entirely in the original language.
Five different stories, that don´t intersect, except for they speak of relationships between people and life in general, are interwined in a clever way. They meet in harmony due to the director´s sense of landscape and photography. By turning Judith Hermann´s stories into a genre – a road movie – a uniformity between the heterogeny of the stories is achieved in the film. And amazing image compositions together with great dramatic interpretations help visualizing the search for love and the beauty of melancholy, always present in Judith Hermann´s writing.
Of course it is about love. What else… But also, about much more than just that. Lately, I´ve been thinking about road movies – the nomadic condition is one of my dearest themes -, people encountering other people and the death of beloved ones. This film has come to meet me on exactly such a crossroad…
Travel becomes here an oportunity for freedom and revolution to take place in one´s life, an escape from routine that, interesting enough, works both ways.
People take journey´s for different reasons. Because they want change to happen or, because they want to prevent it from taking place. It´s either a running away from something or, a wish to take the bull by the horns.
Travelling becomes then, a breach in time, that can both prevent forthcoming events to happen, installing interruption and delay in one´s routine. Or, it can occasionate change and surprise, hastening difference.
Either travel suspends change or, reinforces it.
This is exactly where Ellen and Felix stand at. Their travel throughout the Nevada desert is a postpone of the invitabilty of the separation between the both. Their problems lie heavily, as ghosts, in the air throughout the entire travel. They are travelling together but not with each other really.
Just the same, Nora by avoiding returning to her life on purpose, is living a special time, a time outside her normal routine. She is trying to gain courage to pursue an unusual love.
All the stories are about how people deal with what destiny presents them, what they decide to make with this. It is about people finding strong and passionate connections. They immediately recognize the other with no need for words. The question is what to do with these encounters, how people handle them.
Should one break the rules or not? If one does so, do moral principles apply? Because miracles as such – connection on such a level – doesn´t happen every day…
One thing is for sure, and both the film and the writing have allowed me to realize just that, one cannot help to connect with others. One has only a limited choice of pursuing the full consequences of such connection or, on the contrary, leave it alone.
In this last case, to control it, takes a lot of disciplin, and in my opinion a strong refusal of what makes us truly human… I guess, that despite all the hurting and suffering, I still believe our higher purpose is, to move others with our passions, bringing them into our world or / and be moved by other´s passions just the same.