DIRECTED BY: Pipilotti Rist
FEATURING: Ewelina Guzik, Sven Pippig, Sabine Timoteo, Elisabeth Orth
PLOT: A whimsical young woman brimming with optimism moves breezily through her hometown in Switzerland, picking up new friends Werwen (Sven Pippig)—a sickly momma’s boy—and Edna (Sabine Timoteo)—a cross-dressing gardener—along the way. The trio’s mission is to teach others to live without fear through experimental color hypnosis.
WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: Pepperminta is a creative, experimental, singular film that defies standard classification. It is at once funny, thought-provoking, insightful, fanciful, sexual, and wistful; it contains memorable visuals, bizarre characters, impromptu musical numbers, and flashes of complete fantasy. It’s wonderfully weird, to be sure, but its sentimentality and naive perspective can be cloying and alienating for some audiences.
COMMENTS: Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist is known for saturated colors and themes of harmony and sensuality in her short works. Pepperminta marks her first foray into feature-length narrative film, allowing her to expand upon these concepts in a more accessible manner. Inspired by Pippi Longstocking, the story is a fantastical urban adventure set in a magical realist universe that’s open to Utopian ideas, and the central character is unflappable in her quest to bring joy, beauty, and strength to everyone she meets. Pepperminta transforms the souls of those she chooses to be a part of her mission, healing them with flowers, touch, music, and contagious confidence. She believes that through certain combinations of color a person’s outlook can be altered, and demonstrates this in several wacky encounters.
Pepperminta is primarily driven by its mysterious but likable characters. The title character is quick-to-smile, red-haired, freckled, and feels completely at ease in her own body. She wins others over to her side with unshakable kindness, even if her weirdness confuses most people at first. Werwen is shy, middle-aged, and allergic to everything; he easily falls in love with Pepperminta, most likely because she’s the first girl with whom he’s interacted. With her help he conquers his fear of the outside world bred by his overprotective mother. Edna is taciturn and serious-minded, slowly released from her hard outer shell as she opens herself up to her new friends, even tapping into the magical aspects of Pepperminta’s personality. Continue reading LIST CANDIDATE: PEPPERMINTA