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Aimee & Jaguar

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-- Video Business, 10/8/2001

Color, NR (mature themes, sexual situations, nudity), 125 min., VHS $89.95, DVD $29.99, German with English subtitles
Street: Oct. 30, Prebook: Oct. 16
First Run: L, Aug. 2000, <$1 mil.
Cast: Maria Schrader, Juliane Kohler, Johanna Wokalek, Heike Makatsch
Director: Max Farberbock

Story Line: In Berlin during World War II, flamboyant Felice Schragenheim (Schrader), while working for a Nazi newspaper, conceals two dangerous secrets: she's a Jew and a lesbian. Her passionate affair with married mother Lilly Wust (Kohler) strains their relationships with friends and family and ultimately has devastating consequences.

Bottom Line: Zeitgeist calls Aimee & Jaguar "the most requested lesbian/gay title of the year," and quotes a Boston Herald critic who puckishly states, "It might be the queer Casablanca!" However, it would be a mistake to consign this profoundly moving, beautifully made arthouse item to that niche. Aimee & Jaguar is primarily a love story, and an unusually poignant one at that. Based on a true story, it recreates the physical and spiritual desperation that afflicted "different" Berliners trying to survive Nazi oppression. Schrader and Kohler are nothing short of magnificent in portraying two fastidiously drawn characters, and Farberbock's direction is letter perfect in every particular. Scenes of physical intimacy are presented tastefully, so don't worry about customers getting squeamish. Instead, push this title vigorously. As arthouse films go, it's absolutely top drawer. --Ed Hulse

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