Film Review: ‘Original Bliss’

An elegantly disquieting investigation into the interrelation of faith, violence and sexual degradation, held together by a rivetingly sure-footed performance by German star Martina Gedeck (“The Lives of Others”), recent Munich Film Festival premiere “Original Bliss” might be most impressive for how much it resembles its lead character: calm and orderly on the surface, but roiling with inchoate perversities underneath. There are times in director Sven Taddicken’s film when, were it not for the fixity of Gedeck’s stare, her absolute intensity of purpose, we might mistake the drama for a straightforward tale of a beaten wife’s escape from her abusive partner, and her reclamation of her sense of worth in the arms of another man. But “Original Bliss,” adapted from Scottish author A.L. Kennedy’s 1997 short story collection of the same title, is much more unsettling, and much more original, than that.

(VARIETY)

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