Monday, 4 June 2012

The Fisherman And His Wife (2005) @ Der Fischer Und Seine Frau

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A fish veterinarian, the real McKoi.
At a glance:
What does one do when a woman outdoes a man in just about everythin? Relivin the 19th century Grimm fairytale, the ageless issue between money and happiness is tackled with delightfully contemporary angles in The Fisherman And His Wife @ Der Fischer Und Seine Frau (2005). When fish vet Otto (Christian Ulmen) meets girl-next-door Ida (Alexandra Maria Lara) on a business trip to Japan, it was love at first sight and they tie the knot instantly. As Ida moves up in life with her brilliant idea of launchin a koi-themed line of clothin, the simplistic Otto refuses luxury or any sort of material improvement in life. Otto can’t understand why a big home is better than a smaller one, no more than Ida can how a man can stay so content with only the simple pleasures in life as comfort. As Otto refuses to do more lucrative fin transplants for the high-society collectors (he says it isn’t good for the fish), Ida’s koi apparel makes it big and her stardom as a fashion designer beckons. All the time, a pair of tategoi (‘maybe-fish’ that might change into an expensive variety as they grow) narrates their marital frustration with casual comic takes.
Love at first sight.
Bad news on the doorstep:
If you look at the visuals, it looks as if they're all from different movies. Yes, it's dissonant cross-cultural adventure that's probably serves a tourist fodder better than box office collection. Naturally, the Germans brought this in for a film festival in Malaysia.
Perennial wonderment:
Koi-themed clothes. For real.
Did you know that koi means love in Japanese? Neither did I but it’s not true anyway. Koi is a homophone for love, in Japanese. No surprise then that the oriental carp is a long-time token symbol of affection to the Japanese, just like Mandarin oranges (“kam”) are gold to the Chinese.
Reminds me of:
Alexandra Maria Lara & Simon Verhoeven.
Director & scribe Doris Dörrie
All the arguments I've ever had with so many women on rejectin material success. I wish I could sit them down to watch this. The Fisherman And His Wife is invitingly poignant without enforcin too much cod philosophy on a general audience, if you'd pardon the pun. Punctuated by catchy English-language songs, it feels like watchin any other Hollywood rom-com, only that it is clever as much as it is colourful. Losin passion is the bane of any marriage and rediscoverin that element is key to keepin a conventional relationship alive – but to have it told in various fish-related analogies (is a bigger aquarium always good?) gives any viewer so many easy anecdotes to amuse oneself with.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Doris Dörrie’s little gem is a winner. Much like its S&M dominatrix outfits and koi-motif scarves to the snobbish elitists and wacky fish doctors, The Fisherman And His Wife is the kind of assorted comedy that provides for anybody with some semblance of a funny bone.
How should any fishy story end? Always swimmingly. 1/2
Bonus material:
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