At midnight last night, “Wetlands” premiered at the Oriental Theatre as part of the Cinema Hooligante series at the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival. I have never been so amused … yet so disgusted at the same time in my entire life.
“Wetlands” is a German film directed by David Wnendt about an outlandish woman named Helen (Carla Juri) who has an affinity for bodily fluids, sexuality and poor personal hygiene. The story centers around Helen’s trip to a hospital to remove her hemorrhoids and injuries following a shaving accident.
Have I lost you yet?
Despite the endless amounts of feces, fluids, vomit, feces, nudity, semen, cocaine, feces, and blood (did I mention feces?), there really is a deeper story at play. Helen purposely extends her stay in the hospital to try and get her divorced parents to visit her at the same time and reconcile, meanwhile trying to form a relationship with her nurse, Robin (Christoph Letkowski). Regardless, it’s hard to see this depth if you haven’t been so repulsed by that point.
“Wetlands” is not for everybody. It had me cringing, covering my eyes and left me with no appetite. But, it also had me laughing uncontrollably, feeling deeply and tearing up. I owe all of these feelings to the amazing performance put on by Juri. Imagine acting out an avocado growing out of your genitals. That takes serious guts. It’s refreshing to see a film with a character that has no regard for anyone’s acceptance. She is entirely in her own, and loves it.
And to go even further, I have never seen bolder filmmaking. The combination of content, sharp cuts, interesting angles and a fantastic soundtrack made the film audacious and aggressive in the best way.
I could tell first hand that the film isn’t for everyone when people started to exit the theatre in disgust, including the 50-something year old man that sat next to me. As long as you go in with an open mind, I’m sure you’ll come out as impressed as I was. Personally, I found the film to be brilliant.
“Wetlands” is playing again Monday, Oct. 6 at 10 PM at Times Cinema.
Go. You won’t regret it. Just don’t eat pizza beforehand. You’ll find out why.