“I prayed for a bike and didn’t get one. So I stole a bike then prayed for forgiveness”.
This is the twisted logic of the devout, indoctrinated from infancy, it shows an infantile reasoning, born of the longing of a loving, caring, protective Father.
Helene was a devout until her husband literally knocked it out of her.
Adult reasoning rises to the top and combined with experience, erodes dogma and results in lack of faith. But residue of faith remain, a sense of duty, honour of vows, and Helene stays faithful to a husband who finds fault in her faith, himself a jealous god, who will not tolerate false gods before him.
Plagued by incessant insomnia instigated by a marriage that is more incarceration than an intimate relationship, Helene spends her day compulsively cleaning and cooking in the marital home and channel surfing television, “no more than a bundle of preoccupations.”
A televised interview with renowned psychologist Eduard Gluck prompts her to read his book which consequently compels her to seek him out personally.
There is an instant attraction. His hair is too long, she blurts. By their next meeting, he has had a hair cut. Gluck becomes father confessor, a safe haven conduit for Helene to speak her mind, articulate her thoughts. But Gluck is not God, nor even a saint.
The psychologist suffers from paraphilia, a purveyor of pornography and a chronic masturbator. – If I had been a film you would have watched.
Going through their own individual hell, Helene and Gluck find a sort of salvation in each other, a Rilke-like connection, of two souls bordering and protecting and greeting one another.
Based on a story by Scottish writer A.L.Kennedy, ORIGINAL BLISS is directed by Sven Taddicken, and features two outstanding performances from the two leads, Martina Gedeck and Ulrich Tukur.
The eroticism is powerful, palpable, expectant, pregnant with subdued urgency.
Gedek, achingly beautiful in both physical and emotional sense and sensibility, embodies and empowers Helene, who, as described by author A..K. Kennedy “had been told that her life in its current form represented normality. Existence in the real world was both repetitive and meaningless; these facts were absolute, no one could change them. Ecstasy was neither usual nor useful because of its tendency to distract, or even to produce dependency. Her original bliss had meant she was unbalanced, but now she had the chance to be steady and properly well.’
Ulrich Tukur’s Gluck is a jaunty, playful portrayal, a patina over the painful self loathing he suffers from the blight of his pathological plight.
Profoundly powerful, thought provoking and emotionally charged, ORIGINAL BLISS is compelling cinema, eminently engaging, one of the few films of the year that warrants a second viewing and a seeking out of its source material.
ORIGINAL BLISS is playing as part of the current German Film Festival. Screening times are Friday November 18 at 9 pm at the Chaucer cinema and Monday November 28 at 9 pm at Palace Norton Street.