Hanna Monster, Darling

on February 28, 1991 by Lael Loewenstein
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   In this oddly spooky film from Austrian director Christian Berger, a woman gives birth to an otherworldly creature, much to the consternation of herself and her husband. Stunned into silence, Hanna (Marika Green) leaves behind her marriage, her home and her stillborn fetus for a cross-country journey that is as much physical as it is spiritual.
   The unexpected arrival of Hanna's inhuman child it looks like a cross between a chicken drumstick and an engorged eel bares traces of resemblance to "Rosemary's Baby." But Berger's tone is closer to Wenders than it is to Polanski. Rather than playing the situation for its fright value, the writer/director presents the birth as a catalyst for Hanna's self-exploration. Leaving the town, she goes off quietly and unceremoniously, seemingly evaporating among the shoppers in a supermarket which she proceeds to rob or disappearing amidst the passengers on a bus.
   A sort of postfeminist road movie, "Hanna Monster, Darling" ocasionally hits a very affecting note, thanks to Green's powerfully understated performance as a woman who nearly loses her reason before she can come to terms with herself. Having long stretches without dialogue, the film has an austere, spartan quality. Underscoring that spareness, Danny Krausz's black-and-white cinematography and Lois Weinberger's rudimentary production design together create a world at odds with the protagonist.
   Still, you find yourself wanting more information about Hanna, her background and the events that shaped this extraordinary occurrence. Because Berger never provides the details, the film is meant to be a journey of exploration for the viewer as well. The trouble is, it's not always a trip you want to take.    Starring Marika Green, Hagnot Elischka and Peter Turrini. Directed and written by Christian Berger. No distributor set. Drama. German-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 95 min.
Tags: Starring Marika Green, Hagnot Elischka, Peter Turrini, Christian Berger, Drama, German, shoppers, rob, travel, events, self-exploration, spiritual
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