European ApocalypseIt’s a pretty rare event that Mondo Exploito will review something new. It’s just not what we do. But sometimes something comes along that fits the mould.


Germany, 2014, Dominik Galizia

Poster art: Julius Niegrens with colour by Max Thieme

Poster art: Julius Niegrens with colour by Max Thieme

Mondo Strano opens with Vinz (Gerrit Neuhaus) and Bruno (Dieter Weichbrodt) as they sit surrounded by books in a library. They discuss the murder of their acquaintance, Sabine. Bruno decides they should become investigators and find her executioner. Vinz seems unsure, but the forceful Bruno drags him along.

They explore Sabine’s apartment, still covered in police tape. Bruno spins a lot of lofty, sexualised dialogue and has a taste of the dried blood left behind by the slaying. He decides Vinz needs a gun. They procure it from a local gypsy (Sören Witzel). Bruno discusses Vinz’s new found power in his weapon, and encourages him to test it out like a “real undercover detective”. Gun in tow, Vinz and Bruno continue with their investigation and mad discussions.

You may have noticed that Mondo Strano‘s poster bears an uncanny resemblance to the stunning painted posters of classic Jean Rollin films. This is not where the comparisons to end. The film’s pacing and dialogue brings to mind the spacey wandering of a Rollin tale. Director Dominik Galizia’s two leads float from place to place, engaged in bizarre and poetic conversation and meeting various characters along the way. A simple goal is set, but they may not reach it.

Galizia and cinematographer Nelson Smith capture a beautiful Berlin backdrop with raw but well thought out camerawork. Clearly careful consideration has been given to the framing, which tells us plenty about the characters. Mondo Strano succeeds in giving a somewhat cinematic look to a digital format. The visuals are quite restrained for the majority of the film, except in the film’s closing moments where colour is strewn over the cast with hallucinogenic glee.

Special mention must go to the film’s two stars: Gerrit Neuhaus and Dieter Weichbrodt. Neuhaus, comfortably slick in his flowing trenchcoat, gives a quiet, subdued performance. Weichbrodt, on the other hand, plays his part with a wide-eyed madness that brought a smile to my face. Weichbrodt, and I mean this as a compliment, gives off the aura of an early 80s b-movie legend in the vein of David Warbeck or Christopher George. He may have been born in the wrong decade.

At only thirty minutes, Mondo Strano is definitely worth your time. It’s not perfect. I think it could use a solid sound mixing. But it is exactly the sort of low budget filmmaking I enjoy. It’s a short film made with heart and intelligence without the need for cheap digital trickery and shaky camerawork. And there is a looseness in its storytelling that I really connect with.

Mondo Strano is available in its entirety on YouTube…