© Arsenal/Central

Am Hang
Germany/Switzerland/Italy 2013

Opening 28 Nov 2013

Directed by: Markus Imboden
Writing credits: Klaus Richter, Martin Gypkens, Markus Imboden, Markus Werner
Principal actors: Henry Hübchen, Martina Gedeck, Maximilian Simonischek, Sophie Hutter, Ernst C. Sigrist

Felix (Henry Hübchen) is on the verge (am Hang) of confirming that his wife Valerie (Martina Gedeck) had an affair, of meeting the assumed lover, of killing the guy, of killing himself. Decisions, decisions! Poor Felix, always making life hard on himself! He travels to the original place of suspected sin: a luxurious health resort (also “on the verge,” i.e., am Hang, of a mountain) near a beautiful lake in Switzerland. He takes his cello along – a lonely man playing sad songs on a cello in a hotel room is as lonely as you can get. He wears two wedding rings, a symbol that he is a “widow” which is, of course, not true, since Valerie did not die; her stay in the health resort led to total recovery from a serious illness. She, after 15 years of marriage, packed up and left him, smart woman that she is. While eating in the resort restaurant, Felix meets Thomas. Aha!

Thomas has a summer place near the resort, and is often in the area over weekends to do some writing. Over many dinners he and Felix have long discussions about sex, good sex, good age for sex, and the fact that “there is nothing sadder than a toothbrush alone in a glass.” They agree, argue, split in anger, return, continue, and so on. Felix knows he has his man; whether Thomas knows that Felix is the husband of “Bettina,” the fictitious name Valerie wisely assumed when sleeping with Thomas, is not clear, at least not at the beginning of the confrontation between the two men. And any way: Thomas couldn’t care less. He is a playboy, out for his own enjoyment, sleeping with both employees and patients at the resort. His philosophy is that “in love” is short-lived.

The film is a two-character drama, which would do well in the theater, except that the absolutely gorgeous setting can only be possible in a film. Too bad the press information refuses to reveal the exact location; we would all book immediately, even without the prospect of an affair. I left the cinema wondering how Woody Allen would have handled the story; it would probably be too slow and superficially “deep” for his tastes. (Becky Tan)

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