This sub-titled German movie has a strangely unforgettable title that needs some explanation. The film movingly tells the story of a young, 27-year old man, Vincent (Florian David Fitz), who suffers from Tournette’s syndrome.
Vincent’s disability causes him to make sounds and movements that he cannot control, as if “there is a clown” in his head forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to do. He has been institutionalised by his father.
Vincent is estranged from his father and has very few happy memories of his alcoholic mother, but she looked happy once by the sea. He wants to travel to Italy, so that he can throw her ashes into the ocean and give her what he thinks she desires. The sea, as expressed in the title of the movie, thus becomes a metaphor for hope and direction in Vincent’s unfortunate life.
Vincent escapes from his institution with two other inmates – Alexander (Johannes Allmayor), who obsessively can’t stand anything that is unclean or dirty, even human touch, but who likes the music of Bach; and Marie (Karoline Herfurth), who is a teasingly rebellious anorexic, who dulls her pain with drugs.
The movie journeys the three of them through some spectacular scenery that is photographed beautifully. It takes us, and three young people, from Munich to the sea via the Swiss Alps, and the Brenner Pass. The three try to live with their disabilities in the best way they can.
In the middle of their journey, they are intercepted by Vincent’s overbearing father, Robert (Heino Ferch), who couldn’t face Vincent’s disability, being too busy trying to get re-elected as a politician. But now Vincent’s behaviour will embarrass him, and he has to get involved.
Despite a good deal of drama on the journey, what emerges from the movie is how much the likeable group of escapees earn respect for their capacity to cope. To some extent, the scope of what the movie attempts is too ambitious, but its raw honesty is obvious. The ending of the movie is sobering - Peter Sheehan, Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.
Starring: Florian David Fitz, Karoline Herfurth, Johannes Allmayor, Katharina Muller-Elmau, and Heino Ferch. Directed by Ralf Huettner. Rated MA15+. Restricted. (Strong coarse language). 91 min.