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Tuvalu (1999)

Cast: Denis Lavant, Denis Lavant, Chulpan Khamatova, more...
Director: Veit Helmer, Veit Helmer
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: First Run Features
Genre: Black Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Running Time: 86 min.
    see additional details...

Drawing from the influences of Georges Méliès, Jean Vigo, Buster Keaton, and Franz Kafka, noted German filmmaker Veit Helmer directs this atmospheric, darkly comic film about attendants at a public swimming pool. Lonely Anton (Denis Lavant) watches over his bathhouse located in the midst of a barren industrial moonscape. He spends much of his time pining for a life on the ocean and thinking of ways to trick his sightless father into believing that their run-down establishment is actually thriving. Anton's narrow world comes crashing down when his wife spurns him after her father is killed in one of Anton's pools because of his devious brother Gregor's misdeeds. Gregor hopes to raze the place in order to put up some slick development project, but Anton and the pool's bizarre assortment of regulars band together to save the historic building. Soon Anton finds himself struggling valiantly to save both his dad's prized bathhouse and to win back the woman he loves. Tuvalu was screened at the 1999 San Sebastian Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Indescribable, On a Grand Scale by helsin99 June 8, 2005 - 7:17 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
A thousand people could see this movie and those thousand people would interpret it a thousand different ways. Even the basics of the movie are perceived by everyone in a different way, as can be seen by reading the different reviews of Tuvalu on the net. About all you can be certain of is that the movie is a battle between good and evil set in an early twentieth century bathhouse. Beyond that everyone will see things a little differently. If you are looking for a serious, staid foreign film that will leave you feeling sophisticated when the credits roll, this isn't the film for you. If you are looking for a whimsical movie full of scenes that can best be described as "eye candy", a silent film with some of the best sound effects ever, a film that is part Edward Scissorhands, part slapstick comedy, and part Stalinist era propaganda then this is the film for you.

Overly scrumptious by GGoodsell March 19, 2005 - 4:18 PM PST
1 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Big, bad developers threaten to demolish a decaying bathhouse on the outskirts of a deserted urban landscape. It's up to our hero to save the day through a series of hilarious pratfalls.

I freely confess that this review that this review is based on only the first thirty minutes of TUVALU -- it was at this point I reached my breaking point with its arch, campy humor. All the actors mug ferociously in close-up, in the manner of silent film comedians against a stylized backdrop of Gothic blight. Shot is sepia and various tinted film stocks, TUVALU looks good but trips all over its own cleverness. The film calls to mind the old repertory chestnut KING OF HEARTS, where audience could see a sappy, sentimental comedy and then say they saw a "foreign film." TUVALU is just too too much much.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.05)
42 Votes
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