A double award-winner at this year’s Filmfest München, Florian Eichinger’s Die Hände meiner Mutter is about as austere as you’d expect a German drama about abusive mother-son incest might be. Andreas Döhler stars as Markus, who recalls a deeply repressed traumatic memory during a family gathering and embarks on a daunting odyssey to come to terms with his dark past. Markus’s pragmatic response, coupled with Eichinger’s unfussy direction, result in some insightful, believable exchanges. However these are undermined by the decision to have Döhler also play Markus as a child in flashback sequences, reliving his abuse. This allows Eichinger to frankly depict what went on without traumatising a young actor, but it also calls to mind the whimsical sequences of Jim Carrey playing his younger self in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, rendering these scenes unintentionally comic when they should be unbearably upsetting.
Die Hände meiner Mutter | Directed by Florian Eichinger (Germany 2016) with Andreas Döhler, Katharina Behrens. Starts December 1