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Friday, August 26, 2016

'Liebmann' DVD: Character Study of Troubled Gay German in Rural France

The August 2016 addition of the gay-themed art-house film "Liebmann" to the DVD catalog of (mostly foreign) films from tla video subsidiary tla releasing is notable for uniquely focuses much more on the art-house, rather than the gay, aspect of the film. The titular teacher from France Antek Liebmann visits a new town in the French countryside to escape the trauma of his past life.

The artistic nature of the film is apparent from the prologue that also can be considered the epilogue. This scene making footage of a peacock wandering about is an early clue that "Liebmann" ain't a Zack Snyder joint. The extended silent scenes that highlight the surrounding countryside throughout the film add extra value by evoking thoughts of legendary Belgian documentarian Chantal Akerman.

Like all good dramas, the intensity starts out low. Liebmann arrives in the small town only to have the intrusive locals soon try to learn more about him. The most assertive of the group is next-door neighbor/single mother Genevieve. However, these French people do not have a way of getting that German to talk.

Much of the humor comes in the form of this unwelcome welcome wagon annoying our anti-hero. A great example of this is Genevieve and her older boss and his wife making Liebmann a dinner offer that he cannot refuse. The meal itself is a feast for lovers of dark humor.

The more subtle advances of scruffy and cute Sebastian, who is a customer at the antiques store where Liebmann works, have better success. The initial climax regarding their relationship makes the 10 euros that the former pays the latter to accompany him home a very good investment.

Other drama comes in the form of the dangers of going into the woods (a.k.a. "The Forest"); suffice it to say that some locals go in but do not come out. The impact of this on Liebmann becomes clearer as the film progresses. The ripple effect of these events also affects the aforementioned town folk.

Heavier drama comes in the forms of a surprise visitor for Liebmann shaking things up for him and his new community, another community being discovered, and the final scenes of the film being very true to the themes and the style of it.

On a larger level, releasing making a highly artistic (and minimally erotic) film such as "Liebmann" available to the DVD public reflects a great commitment to art over commerce that makes this movie a rare treat in 2016 and releasing an even rarer film industry company for actively supporting such a venture.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Liebmann" is welcome to email me; your can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.