Updated: Oct 14, 2018
★★★★ Directed by: Katja Benrath Written by: Brix Vinzent Koethe Starring: Marian Meder, Bendix Thuenke, Friederike Linke, Sebastian Kaufman Little Wing Film Festival Review by: Chris Olson
Magic and child abuse have never been coupled so well than in Katja Benrath's short film (written by Brix Vinzent Koethe) Where Have You Been (AKA Wo Warst Du). An enriched cinematic experience that pulls many things out of the hat, including a bunny rabbit.
Marian Meder plays Pit, an unenthusiastic magician for hire who plays children's parties and other venues. Whilst his routine fails to elicit much of a response from the bored looking audience, one child in particular (Bendix Thuenke) is particularly intrigued when Pit manages to make something disappear, a magic trick that could solve his harrowing home life.
Cleverly paced and achieving an increasingly darker tone as the narrative advances, Where Have You Been is a textured film that relies on the audience's growing sense of peril. The execution of this is intelligently done and Benrath directs the cast with precision and consistency, which is not always easy when you have child actors. Fortunately, Benrath benefits from some great casting, in particular Thuenke, who proves himself capable of carrying a weighty role without undermining the drama with inexperience. Instead, he is engaging and captures a lot of his character's hidden secret using physical performance. Meder is also excellent as the unwitting anti hero, bringing in the film's small moments of humour excellently.
There was a slight impotence to the final third of the movie. The act started to come together but the reveal (or prestige if you will) lacked any larger sense of gusto. Instead the threads were tied together in a predictable manner and the audience leaves with a tidy narrative. That being said, the combination of themes in Where Have You Been is excellent. Innocence, heroism, childhood, abuse and more are thrown into the show and although there is not a huge amount of time to explore them all the mixture is cinematically intoxicating.
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