OUT NOW! UNTER SCHNEE is an ostentatious docu-fantasy that misses the mark in the end.

A very slow, contemplative pace and stunning cinematography mark Berlin-based artist Ulrike Ottinger’s ode to Japan. The film seamlessly merges documentary with fantasy within the frame of a traditional Kabuki fairytale, told by a benshi-style (though German-speaking) narrator. Unfortunately, most of the references – cinematic as well as cultural – will be lost to all but hardcore Japanophiles, and by the end, its awe-inspiring shots and adroit experimentalism will not save most audiences from tedium. In addition to the film’s premiere on September 9, the HKW is holding an exhibition of Ottinger’s work entitled Floating Foods throughout the month  

Unter Schnee | D: Ulrike Ottinger (Germany 2011) with Takamasa Fujima, Kiyotsugu Fujima. Opens Sep 15