Rimini of Ulrich Seidl- Berlinale review

Rimini of Ulrich Seidl- Berlinale review

The death of his mother brings Richie Bravo back from his adopted home in Italy to his teenage bedroom in Lower Austria, where Charlton Heston is still flexing his biceps and Winnetou is still alive. With a schnapps in hand and velvety Wurlitzer melodies in the air, he and his “piccolo fratello” bid farewell in the cellar to the parental home. His father is in a nursing home. Pop star Richie makes his money in Rimini. Life-size posters on the walls of his villa tell of a glorious past but the present is a damp squib.

His gigs are old German songs in staid hotel foyers where old people spend the winter days in this see-side resort. Everything in the film is in decline: from the winter atmosphere, the protagonist’s life, his clothing, the old-looking pubs and hotels, the songs. The only life on the streets are some refugees that Richie casually mocks referring to Allah. The famous Richie is now a gigolo, sleeping with old women that liked him as teens, for some extra money. All that until a woman shows up that will change his life.

Michael Thomas, gives a one man show in this latest film by Ulrich Seidl. He walks the streets of Rimini, sings on the stage, sleeps around, drinks. He really becomes Richie Bravo. His grotesque guardarobe and style combined with his cheesy lines and his Don-Juan like behaviour make the ultimate antihero, a guy that goes around giving us the feeling that his life is not worth living. His average performances of old songs are given in plethora and in full from Seidl, being annoying in times, a goal of the director. The woman that appears though is the main character’s long lost daughter that wants to take what it belongs to her: money that Richie should have given to her mother growing up. Amidst his  marginal lifestyle, he finds a different meaning to everything, trying to build up his relationship with his daughter.

Rimini, is a film about lost souls, something in surplus nowadays. The film’s Richie is a man out of time on every aspect, living in a place out of time, but his intentions are always towards doing good, in his own weird way. In the post-pandemic world Richie represents lots of people who feel out of their bodies, in a changed world, with so many issues from the migration to the new technologies entering faster our lives. The anorthodox ending in the film amplifies the view that life finally finds it’s course, and what was unthinkable, becomes ultimately the solution to our problems, and the new normalcy that we all expect to come, no matter how weird that would be.

Grade 3.5/5

by Ulrich Seidl
with Michael Thomas, Tessa Göttlicher, Hans-Michael Rehberg, Inge Maux, Claudia Martini
Country: Austria / France / Germany Year: 2022
Duration: 114’ 

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