The girl from the water
|German title||The girl from the water|
|Original title||Lady in the Water|
|Country of production||United States|
|Director||M. Night Shyamalan|
|script||M. Night Shyamalan|
M. Night Shyamalan
|music||James Newton Howard|
Lady in the Water (Alternative title: Lady in the Water - Lady in the Water , Original title: Lady in the Water ) is an American fantasy - fairy tale directed by M. Night Shyamalan wrote, who also wrote the screenplay and who took on supporting roles. He tells the fairytale story of a caretaker who rescues a young woman from the swimming pool of his apartment complex. The girl turns out to be a nymph who is hunted by cruel creatures. Caretaker Heep and the residents of the facility help her return to the “Blue World”.
The film takes up motifs from some fairy tales and deals with topics such as self-discovery, knowledge and communication. Shyamalan's work met with largely negative reviews when it premiered on July 21, 2006 and was a financial failure. The film opened in German cinemas on August 31, 2006.
Cleveland Heep leads a secluded life as the caretaker of a Philadelphia residential complex. One night he discovers a girl in the swimming pool whom he saves from drowning. She pretends to be a "story" and tells him that she is a narf, that is, a kind of nymph from the "blue world". You should find a certain writer and enlighten him . Heep helps her to establish contact with a writer who lives in the facility, and arranges the encounter at which the writer experiences his enlightenment. Story, who now lives in Heep's apartment, can no longer leave it because she is being followed by a scrunt , a vicious wolf-like creature.
A Korean resident tells Heep about an Asian legend according to which a Narf comes from the “blue world” to awaken a person who is supposed to save the world. So that she can return to her world after completing the mission (a giant eagle should come and carry her away), the nymph needs the help of people who have to take on various functions with their skills. So she needs a symbol interpreter, a guardian, a healer and a guild , a group of people who do not seem to do anything special, but have helping hands.
Heep follows this legend and - with the help of a film critic - recruits some residents in the apartment block who, in his opinion, are destined for the helper roles. Together, on the advice of the symbol interpreter, they work out a plan that provides for the guild to host a party in which the story can enjoy the protection of the crowd. It is said that a scrunt only attacks a nymph if he can strike unobserved. At the same time, Heep hopes that the big eagle will come that evening to get the story.
The party turns out to be a failure and Story is badly injured by the scrunt. The film critic is subsequently attacked and killed by the scrunt. The frightened residents realize that Heep's selection must have been wrong and now try to find out for themselves which of them is predetermined for the various roles. Heep takes on z. B. the role of the healer, while the son of the supposed symbol interpreter seems to be the actual chosen one for this role. A union of seven women, the sisters , is proposed as a new guild .
After Story has been healed by the healer Heep, the guild of the seven sisters and two other people, you wait at the pool for Eatlon, the great eagle who is supposed to bring Story back to the Blue World. The scrunt wants to use the chance and starts an attack on story, but now the as yet unknown guard appears: It is the resident Reggie.
Reggie, a bodybuilder who only trains his right arm, keeps the scrunt in check with constant eye contact and pushes it back when suddenly three Tartutic, ape-like beings, appear. You are responsible for compliance with the laws of the “blue world”. And the scrunt broke this: According to the laws of the “blue world”, a scrunt is forbidden to attack a Narf after completing its mission. But since Story is really the Queen of the Narf, she was irresistible prey for the Scrunt, for which he disregarded the law. The Tartutic overpower the lawbreaker and drag him away.
After the danger has been averted, the great Eatlon appears and finally takes the story back to the “Blue World”.
History of origin
The idea for this film came from an improvised bedtime story that Shyamalan told his daughters. “There was something at the core of the story that drove me to keep telling it every evening,” recalls the director. “Even when the story was finally over, I kept talking to my daughters about it. [...] The story occupied us extraordinarily intensively. ”During the filming of The Village , the idea of filming the story arose.
After this mystery thriller, which received a very mixed reception by the critics, but was still a financial success, the filmmaker of Indian origin began to draft a script. He was inspired by the animated films by Hayao Miyazaki ( Spirited Away ) and films such as The Prince's Bride or ET - The Extra-Terrestrial . He presented the finished script to Touchstone Pictures , a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company , as the studios had already financed and loaned his previous films. Although the director had brought in around one and a half billion US dollars with his films there, Disney production director Nina Jacobson rejected the manuscript. Shyamalan then moved to Warner Brothers Pictures , who invested $ 75 million in the project.
In response to Disney's rejection, journalist Michael Bamberg wrote the book The Man Who Heard Voices: Or, How M. Night Shyamalan Risked His Career On A Fairy Tale . His aim was "to stylize the filmmaker as a martyr in the battle of creativity". In the book, he asked, "What could she [Nina Jacobson] do more important than receiving Night's new script"? Jacobson responded to such allegations: “Everyone has a different concept of respect. For us there is no greater respect for a filmmaker than to be honest with him. "
First, Shyamalan signed Bryce Dallas Howard , who had previously played an important role in The Village . Even before the script was finished, he asked Howard if she wanted to play the part of the story. "I hadn't even written the script yet, but I really wanted her to do the role," said the director in an interview. Howard accepted. Either Kevin Costner or Paul Giamatti was scheduled for the role of caretaker Cleveland Heep . Shyamalan ultimately chose Giamatti. Furthermore, William Hurt , Sidney Poitier , Chris Cooper , Gene Wilder , Terrence Howard , Alec Baldwin , Vince Vaughn , Forest Whitaker and Don Cheadle should originally be committed to the residents of "The Cove". However, it was decided on Freddy Rodriguez, Jeffrey Wright, Jared Harris and Sartia Choudhury. As a film and theater critic, Bob Balaban was signed.
The residential complex "The Cove" was to be built in Pennsylvania. The first design was a red brick building. But the designers and Shyamalan thought it created too much mood. Therefore, a "blank" building was constructed, which should come to life through the figures. Work began on June 20, 2005 with the construction of a steel structure, which was completed after four weeks. Then a large building was created in which it was possible to shoot. According to Shyamalan's ideas, the creatures should merge with their respective habitat. The ape-like "Tartutics", with their wooden bodies that look like knotty roots, "unite" with the trees. The wolf-like scrunt with green grass fur and glowing red eyes merges with the earth and the grass. Filming took place from August 22, 2005 to October 21, 2005 in Levittown , Pennsylvania and Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.
As before in The Village , Shyamalan plays with color symbolism in this film. The color blue is particularly important. Marco Kreuzer analyzes that she represents “the spiritual, the spirituality, the harmony, maybe even the divine, but in any case the world of the mythical and the imagination”. Another symbol is the water. The protagonist's story lives in it and here it is “the element of salvation, purification, a new beginning”. Due to its importance and the important role in the film, one could even think that Shyamalan even describes water as the primary substance of all being. H. as the origin of life ( pre-Socratic natural philosophy ). The heart-shaped pool supports this idea "on the one hand optically, on the other hand this shape also refers to emotionality or inner voice".
M. Night Shyamalan stated in an interview that the horror in his films is just a hood that should capture the viewer so that he can watch and listen more closely. This phenomenon is known as "horrific agents" and is often used by the director. At the beginning it is the story, the Narf, who "disrupts the normality of Cleveland's reality when it first appears". Even if it has positive connotations from the start, its appearance creates "that eerie atmosphere that we already know from Shyamalan". Furthermore, the many reflections, shadows and descriptions of the scrunt and tartutics contribute to an eerie film atmosphere. Up to the end of the film, the scrunt can only be perceived through the means already mentioned or acoustically.
Shyamalan values the rhythm, the speed and the feelings a scene evokes. In Das Mädchen aus dem Wasser , for example, the filmmaker uses slow motion to make the shock of a scene and dramatic moments last longer. This method is supported acoustically and with the music of James Newton Howard . The filmmaker calls this his special effects. An example of this is the scene in which the protagonists Cleveland and Story are attacked by the scrunt. Furthermore, Shyamalan uses comparatively few cuts or long camera positions. In an interview he says:
- “Today, most films are made through elaborate montages in the editing room [...]. I take a different approach and try to capture the magic of the moment. [...] I often choose theater actors and shoot as coherently as possible. "
The camera shots by Christopher Doyle , who works very strongly with sharpness and blurring here, are described as "dirty", "intelligent, but completely uncracked" and "aesthetically enticing images". In addition, the camera perspectives introduce the “individual stereotypical characters”. “Often you can only see people from behind and get an idea of them just through your [Cleveland's] appraising look. Sometimes the camera follows his [Cleveland's] gaze and lets the bizarre types speak directly into the auditorium, ”notes Mary Keizer.
Themes and motifs
Self-discovery and knowledge
With The Girl from the Water , Shyamalan mainly deals with the topic of self-discovery and knowledge. The point is that "the power to act [...] is inherent in every person, only they have to discover it, often very painful, and believe in it so that they can set it free".
In the course of the plot, the viewer learns that Heep's family was murdered by a burglar when he was not at home. Due to the trauma, he gives up his job as a doctor and "now leads this anonymous, secluded life in the cove". Kreuzer analyzes: "The fragmentation and shaking of his identity through this trauma is already evident in his language: Cleveland stutters tremendously". But during Story's presence he can suddenly speak as fluently as if he had never had a language disorder. In the ritual to heal the story again, he is supposed to slip into the role of the healer, but he is uncomfortable. "But when he conforms to his destiny and speaks almost as a prayer to his deceased family, he finds himself and a new self-awareness." Shyamalan portrays Cleveland as a figure of identification and that is "somewhat more detailed than the other characters", who also find presence to themselves during stories.
With the figure of the author Vick Ran, Shyamalan tries to convey the concept "that literature, or even film, can serve as an instrument for knowledge". Vick's book, the Cookbook , which addresses cultural issues and speaks of the need for a capable leader, “will, Story predicts, inspire a little boy who, with Vick's thoughts, will make big changes in later life as a politician will". But because of the revolutionary ideas, as the Narf prophesies, he will be assassinated. But Vick still wrote his book to the end and accepted the future, because "like the gods of religion, the story inspires the visionary author".
Fairy tale and myth
The film takes up several themes and motifs from the fairy tale . Shyamalan's film often consists of scenes that contain magical elements, but also wisdom or examples of particular cunning or outright stupidity. The protagonists mostly have a task such as solving puzzles. In The Girl from the Water , the residents of "The Cove" must find their purpose (see previous section). Then there is the battle between good and evil. This struggle, which runs like a red thread through Shyamalan's oeuvre, is expressed with the rivalry between the story and the scrunt. The rational thinking "monster" attacks the Narf and even the caretaker several times and tries to kill them. “The material, earthen monster stands in opposition to the ethereal water being. Water versus earth, spirituality versus materialism, if you will, emotionality versus rationality, ”notes Kreuzer.
Story represents the character “who lets a magical source pop up that sends threatening messengers into the brain. They are threatening because they shake the security in which we have woven ourselves and our families ". But the story itself is not very scary, because "as an allegorical figure it represents the positive parts of storytelling and myth". It inspires those who seek confrontation with it (residents of "The Cove"), even if it forces them to "question themselves and their role." The Narf sees itself as "an allegory of the fairy tale itself". It is mysterious, does not reveal much of its origins, remains a mystery. The objects that she collects, which people forgot at the pool and which they then hide in their cave under the pool, "stand for the repressed parts of the human being in the unconscious." The homophony between the word key and Kii (the magic stone that is supposed to heal the story) can be understood as a "variety of the philosopher's stone."
"In the myth, each blade of grass can assume the shape of the Redeemer and lead the seeking pilgrim into the holy of holies of his own heart," says Campbell. This thought can also be found in Das Mädchen aus dem Wasser : As in The Sixth Sense , the key to the mythical world, that is to say to the “Blue World” story, is the one who effortlessly and unconditionally bridges the gap between reality and myth. a child, namely Joey Dury, who deduces a meaning from the texts and images on the cereal boxes.
For the most part, the girl from the water was received very negatively in the USA . Most critics saw the once-acclaimed director's downward trend continuing. Brian Lowry in the trade journal Variety showed understanding for Disney's decision to reject the script: "[...] Shyamalan followed up The Village with another disappointment - a clumsy, informal bedtime story." The fact that Shyamalan cast himself as a misunderstood, brilliant author also added the unpleasant aftertaste of self-centeredness to the film. For Jim Emerson ( Chicago Sun-Times ) , the character of the film critic was the only bright spot within the incoherent dramaturgy. But the fact that this critic “criticizes a film in the film (and ultimately the one we are currently watching) for forcing characters to constantly choke out their most intimate thoughts through lengthy dialogues excuses Das Mädchen im Wasser for these very amateurish mistakes in no way. ”An impression that coincided with that of Sean P. Means of the Salt Lake Tribune :“ [Shyamalan] drowns the girl from the water in a sea of talkativeness. ”
Mountain Xpress's Ken Hanke tended to see the film as "the work of an artist who knows he has something to say, but has not yet been quite able to figure out what that something is." James Berardinelli felt like amateur scripts remembered one of Ed Wood . David Bordwell, on the other hand, was visually thinking of the late Godard and, based on the disastrous reviews, wrote a defense of the film: "If The Girl from the Water had been shot by an obscure Eastern European director, the critics might have praised the magical realism of the film [ ...] ".
In the German-speaking countries, the opinion of the critics was mixed. Alexandra Stäheli from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung wrote, for example. B. Shyamalan's "spiritual fairy tale" is reminiscent of the "inner tension of the surprise success The Sixth Sense ". Of course, "little Cole's ghostly psychotherapy with its oppressive loneliness in terms of atmospheric sadness can hardly be surpassed", but the story develops "its own fluid charm". She also said that the film condenses "into a sometimes bizarre, sometimes a bit flat parable on the meaning of life, which sometimes also surprises with a bit of itchy humor", which "contributed a lot to the profit of the film".
The film magazine Cinema wrote that Shyamalan was telling “a modern fable, a gripping story about determination and redemption - in which humor always cushions flaring pathos” and came to the conclusion that Shyamalan had succeeded in making a “film for the collective soul” rotate. This is "atmospheric, humorous and fabulous". The lexicon of international films judged: “A poetic and fantastic story as an original change in the mainstream monotony of Hollywood, which tells of the healing power of the imagination, of solidarity and courage. Visually impressive and well-equipped, the film unfolds its charm beyond common genre patterns. ” Wolfgang Höbel from Spiegel wrote that the film is intricate and pompous in its narrative, but often has a strange charm.
Joachim Schätz, on the other hand, described the film as “the craziest summer blockbuster of the season.” He also said, “From one absurd revelation to the next overproduced suspense scene, the film delves deeper and deeper into the hair-raising pseudo-mythological set of rules about narfs, killer monkeys and giant eagles . That would be very sympathetic in its unswerving way, if Shyamalan's vices such as fatefulness and longing for leaders would not spoil the confused fun. "Bernd Zywietz from film-dienst said, The girl from the water shows" as a very personal work of one Cinema narrator who gets lost as unchecked and enthusiastic as he is sympathetic.
The Wiesbaden film evaluation agency gave the film the rating of “particularly valuable” and wrote: “ The girl from the water offers far more than fantasy and horror. Shyamalan plays excellently with the familiar elements of both genres and ironically breaks them. On the one hand, his work shows the romantic story of a desperate person who is saved by the power of others and the art of listening. On the other hand, Shyamalan provides reflections on the techniques of cinematic storytelling, which in a very funny way evokes a "Brechtian distance" between the audience and the characters. He uses narration and semiotics as supporting narrative moments that drive the plot further. Staging, camera work, editing, but above all the play of the excellent actors support this strategy: The film gives every supporting role space to develop; their lovingly painted ticks are another reason to watch the very intelligent film. "
The French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma took the girl out of the water on its list of the 10 best films of 2006.
The girl from the water grossed around 18 million US dollars on the opening weekend in the USA, in Germany the film reached around 43,000 viewers and entered the cinema charts at number 9. After eight weeks, the fairy tale had grossed around 72 million US dollars worldwide, of which 42 million US dollars was in cinemas in the USA, one million US dollars in Germany, 5.7 million US dollars in Spain and 1.8 million US dollars. Dollars in japan.
Measured against the film's budget, which was between $ 70 million and $ 75 million, the film was a financial failure. After Wide Awake , this is Shyamalan's second film that failed to recoup its cost.
Noah Gray-Cabey received a Young Artist Award nomination for best young actor in 2007 . Apart from that, the film was nominated four times for the negative award Golden Raspberry , including in the categories Worst Film and Worst Screenplay . Shyamalan was "honored" as the worst director and worst supporting actor .
The DVD version of the film was released in the USA on December 19, 2006, and in German-speaking countries on January 19, 2007. In addition to a making-of, the DVD contains cut scenes and two US cinema trailers. This was followed by a limited soundtrack edition of the DVD version, which contains the original soundtrack and a 24-page booklet in which the story of the creation and characters are explained. A Blu-ray disc was released in Germany on March 16, 2007, and an HD-DVD version is also available.
On July 18, 2006, Decca Records released the original soundtrack in the USA and on September 1, 2006 in Germany. The score was composed by James Newton Howard and interpreted by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra. In addition to the film music, the track contains the two songs "It Ain't Me Babe" and "Maggie's Farm" by Silvertide as reinterpretations of two Bob Dylan songs and one each by Amanda Ghost and the rock band A Whisper in the Noise . William Ruhlmann of Allmusic said: " Howard has a large orchestra and a large choir, and he uses both to create swirling and circular music that, with a few ordinary moments here and there, leads to exciting expectations and climaxes ." Howard won the IFMCA Award for best film music in a fantasy / science fiction / horror film, for best soundtrack in 2006 and for best song in 2006 ("The Great Eatlon").
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- The film is considered a commercial failure, since it with a budget of about 6 million US dollars grossed only $ 282,175 again. ( Wide Awake on Box Office mojo )
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