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Styx - Film Review (German Film Festival)

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A German drama thriller
The German Film Festival of 2019 brings to 15 Australian locations, across 7 Australian cities, a selection of 31 German titles for viewing.

Styx The Movie Source: The German Film Festival website
Styx The Movie Source: The German Film Festival website

No worries if you have missed the opening night premiere of Balloon, there is a selection of some of the choicest movies coming to the festival. One such movie is Styx. Styx, a drama thriller, goes beyond borders and is part of the German-Austrian film selection.

Styx is directed by Wolfgang Fischer and stars Susanne Wolff in a lead role. Suzanne who plays Rike, is a paramedic by profession. Saving lives is what she does and what defines her. She portrays a confident woman who takes a solo trip to the volcanic Ascension Island. The island is located around 1000 miles off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean and is home to Charles Darwin's best-kept experiment that converted a barren volcanic island with one tree to a lush green paradise.

On board ASA GRAY, her yacht, Rike continues to explore the high seas. At many points, I am reminded of the movie The Martian, where one crew member of a space expedition is left behind on Mars and has to work out a way to survive alone till someone makes contact with him from another planet. Although Rike's situation in Styx is not the same, it is similar in many ways to the viewer. The screen time is dominated by one character, their activities and the location (in this case the high seas) and it requires amazing screenplay and cinematography to keep the viewer engaged without much dialogue. It is a superior display of what one would experience if they were reading from a diary.

Rike braves some turbulent weather conditions only to uncover that her biggest challenge on this trip is not the weather, but the boat that she spots a few hundred meters away that is packed with distraught refugees jumping into the water.

What follows is a brilliant display of the situational complication, the desperate need of the abandoned refugees, a question of moral science and the protocols in place that seem operate without a consideration for compassion. The name of the movie, 'Styx' (Greek mythology: a river in the underworld, over which the souls of the dead were ferried) aptly describes the situation the protagonist finds herself in.

Suzanne Wolff's powerful performance captivates a lion's share of the screen time and around halfway through the movie, she shares the screen time with a young refugee boy. The filmmaker impresses upon on the viewers with screenplay and direction rather than relying on dialogues.

Styx has been applauded for its cinematography in the Berlin International Film Festival 2018. The gripping 90 odd minutes of the sea adventure asks the tough questions without spelling them out for the viewer.

Watch the trailer here

This year, the film festival also brings to the audiences Kino for Kids which is a selection of 6 movies for kids and young adults.

The movies at the festival will play across 7 Australian cities including Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Byron Bay.

Make sure you check the cinema locations in your city for participating cinemas. Sydney ticketing info is available here.
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