Flights of Fancy (2014)
Editor’s Notes: The following review is part of our coverage of the Munich International Film Festival. For more information visit filmfest-muenchen.de/en and follow the Filmfest München on Twitter at @filmfestmunich.
At first, the Dallinger family seems like an idyllic, typical middle-class family: Hans (Tobias Moretti) and his wife Elli (Stephanie Japp) live in a nice suburban house with their two kids and a dog. They are shown playing ping pong in their backyard, joking around and having a good time until Hans spots their neighbors’ new satellite. The previous, happy appearances are deceptive once Hans starts acting strange after he noticed the installment on the neighbors’ roof. He starts acting strange around the house and starts mumbling to himself. He feels threatened by minor changes in and around their house and states that somebody is constantly spying on him and his family.
With Flights of Fancy, newcomer Jonas Nay successfully convinces as the sympathetic but lost and yet determined Simon, eager to stand up for his family in order to improve their living situation.
Flights of Fancy is Christian Bach’s debut feature film after directing a few short films. The story is based on the true and very personal story of one of Bach’s friend and his family. It is told from Simon Dallinger’s (Jonas Nay) point of view, Hans’ 22-year old son and therefore mainly concentrates on the relationship between father and son.
As it turns out, Hans is a neurotic and schizophrenic former architect, who is now unemployed due to his condition. When several incidents occur, he is sent to a closed ward but remains unaware of his condition and is unable to accept it. With his father gone and his mother off to work during the day, Simon is in charge of the family, especially his younger sister. He also tries to convince his father to accept his disease and is occupied with worrying about his own health since there is a 20 percent change of him becoming schizophrenic as well at one point in his life. Out of loyalty to his family, he always puts his own needs behind everyone else and works as a driver for a transportation company although he is a very talented graphic artist and could have a future as an architect if he decided to pursue his dreams. When he meets Verena (Hanna Plass), an intern at the local hospital, his life is suddenly turned upside down and he is torn between his family and the chances of a new life.
Similar to the characters, the filmmakers seem to be toe-stepping around the heavy issue of schizophrenia and its consequences.
Tobias Moretti, mostly known for the TV series Kommissar Rex, and Jonas Nay deliver great performances in Bach’s drama. Both of them already received a nomination for the Bavarian Film Awards (Bayrischer Filmpreis) before the official premiere in Munich and won in the categories of Best Actor (Tobias Moretti) and Best Young Actor (Jonas Nay). With Flights of Fancy, newcomer Jonas Nay successfully convinces as the sympathetic but lost and yet determined Simon, eager to stand up for his family in order to improve their living situation.
Although the well-written (and sponsorship-award-winning) screenplay of Flights of Fancy features a number of dramatic twists and incidents that push the story forward, it unfortunately remains without much suspense and lacks the overall cinematic experience. Hans’ impulsive behavior for example could have been more intense to further increase the side effects of his condition and the dangers that come with it as well as the families’ struggles to deal with this situation. Similar to the characters, the filmmakers seem to be toe-stepping around the heavy issue of schizophrenia and its consequences.
Despite its obvious flaws and a general lack of cinematic experience, Flights of Fancy is still a decent debut feature that is carried by its noteworthy actors.