The Shine of Day
Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel’s much-anticipated follow-up to their festival sensation La Pivellina is again a gritty, semi-improvised serio-comic feature about how sudden connections can alter one’s structured life. The clash here is between two men with strong egos: aging circus performer Walter (Walter Saabel, Best Actor winner in Locarno, imported from La Pivellina), and famed theatre actor Philipp Hochmair, playing a fictionalized version of himself. Walter is Philipp’s uncle, the family’s black sheep: the two have never met, yet Walter shows up on Phillipp’s doorstep in Hamburg as he’s in rehearsal to play Woyzeck at the Thalia. They strike up a friendship, and Walter follows him to Vienna, where the actor works to great acclaim at the Burgtheater. Walter ends up sleeping on Philipp’s sofa, and eventually tending to Philipp’s neighbour’s kids, whose mother is trapped in Moldova.
Neither man is without his charm, as theirs is a confrontation between disparate characters who represent opposite styles of performing, as well as concepts of freedom. Philipp is constantly in arrogant-actor mode, finding freedom by “running free in his rage” in different roles. Late in his days and wanting to make amends with his past, Walter exists in the real world, which includes fighting bears and knife throwing. For Walter, freedom, or the shine of day, is simply sitting by the river and catching fish. Hopping from the theatre stage to private spaces, Covi and Frimmel reveal what’s going on behind the curtain of everyday life.