“Schneeflöckchen” (“Snowflake“) is the award winning debut feature film from German based Venezuelan director Adolfo J. Kolmerer & William James, filmed over the course of four years, mostly at weekends. Despite this constraint it is a really assured movie, and surprisingly belies its low budget; in fact funds were so limited the cast worked without payment.
Set in an anarchic Berlin of the near future, we are introduced to Tan and Javid, in a Tarantinoesque scene setting sequence, who it turns out are hunting down a murderer. They find themselves trapped in the wicked fairy tale of a mysterious screenplay that entangles them in a vicious circle of revenge. On their journey their paths cross with Elina, who herself is on a quest for vengeance, and many colourful characters.
Familiar elements from numerous genres are combined into a unique, almost neo-realist, fantasy film, a clear influence being Tarantino; particularly the non-linear narrative that evokes “Pulp Fiction“. Nonetheless, it transcends any easy description, becoming its own beast, via a seemingly bat-shit crazy storyline grounded in a gritty realism. From the very first scene it never lets up, throwing everything into “the kitchen sink,” cannibals, androids, a masked superhero, hit men, super soldiers, angels, God, and a dentist!
However, delve deeper to find meditations on family, friendship, art, and film-making. Along the way encompassing many other themes and ideas, all in an well realised meta-infused screenplay by Arend Remmers. The narrative is accentuated with razor sharp dialogue, delivered by a first-rate cast.
Superb cinematography (Konstantin Freyer) with very purposeful framing of shots compliments the impressive production design, enhanced by the perfectly pitched editing (Robert Hauser and William James). All topped of with a standout musical score (Román Fleischer).
“Schneeflöckchen” is so full to the brim that at times it is at the expense of emotional engagement. Nevertheless, it is hard not to enjoy, especially with many genre tropes and clichés approached differently. Countless genre references throughout is one of the many reasons multiple viewings make for a more fulfilling experience.
Considering its 2 hour running time it rattles along, is never boring, quirky, laugh out loud hilarious, violent, visceral, thoughtful, and best of all unpredictable.
Adolfo J. Kolmerer & William James and everyone involved have crafted a top-notch low budget movie containing an unexpected depth, but more importantly it is unapologetically entertaining!
Released in the US by Artsploitation Films and Europe by Capelight Pictures.