One of the most exciting directorial debuts of recent years is Helena Wittmann’s 2017 feature Drift, a formally audacious aquatic journey. The German filmmaker returned to the festival circuit last year, at Locarno and the New York Film Festival, with her follow-up Human Flowers of Flesh, which proved a natural extension of her transportive cinematic interests in the sea while greatly expanding her canvas. Ahead of a theatrical release from Cinema Guild release beginning at Metrograph on April 14––alongside a full retrospective of Wittmann’s work, including Drift, 4 short films, and a live performance piece––we’re pleased to exclusively debut the new trailer and poster.
Here’s the official synopsis: “Human Flowers of Flesh follows, Ida (Dogtooth’s Angeliki Papoulia), who, after a stirring encounter with the French Foreign Legion sets sail with her own corps of five men, none of whom speak the same language, to trace the route of this fabled troop. Their voyage will take them from Marseille to Corsica and finally to Sidi Bel Abbès, Algeria, the historical headquarters of the Legion. Along the way, boundaries blur; life at sea produces a special kind of mutual understanding; a legionnaire of yore makes an about-face.”
Leonardo Goi said in his review, “Early into Helena Wittmann’s 2017 feature debut, Drift, a character recounts a Papua New Guinean tale of the world’s creation. Back when the planet was all water, a giant crocodile kept paddling around preventing the sand to settle; only after a warrior slaughtered the beast did the land jut into being. A few minutes into Human Flowers of the Flesh a sailor shares another legend, this one from Ancient Greece. As he chopped Medusa’s head, Perseus dropped it on the shore; the seaweed absorbed the Gorgon’s petrifying powers, and that’s how coral was born. Wittmann has a knack for myths, and her cinema radiates a certain mythical grandeur, a pleasure as primeval and untimely as the stories her projects orbit around. Flowers, in that, feels both ancient and novel. It’s a film whose visual experiments invite one to see the world anew, even as the demons that fuel it harken back to a passion for storytelling that’s as old as time itself.”
See the exclusive trailer and poster, designed by Brian Hung, below.
Human Flowers of Flesh opens on April 14 at Metrograph and will expand: including the retrospective, Wittmann will embark on a tour of North America in support of the film, with stops at Toronto (TIFF Bell Lightbox, April 20), Chicago (Gene Siskel Film Center, April 22), Seattle (Northwest Film Forum, April 28) and Los Angeles (Rotations/Acropolis Cinema, May 4).