Marcus Mittermeier: Muxmäuschenstill (Mux, D 2004)


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Marcus Mittermeier: Muxmäuschenstill (Mux, D 2004)


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Marcus Mittermeier: Muxmäuschenstill (Mux, D 2004)
Ekkehard Knörer


Director Info

Marcus Mittermaier, born in 1969, has been known as an actor, not as a director before "Mux". This is his feature filme debut - and a resounding one. It has won four majour awards at the "Max Ophüls festival", which is the most important place for young German directors and their movies, and went on to get rave reviews at this year's Berlin film festival where it was shown in a sidebar for German film. "Mux" was written by the actor who plays the title character, Jan Henrik Stahlberg, it was made for an incredible 40.000 Euros and is now even nominated for this year's German film award. 


Picture this: a guy who knows what' wrong and sets it right. He takes the steering wheel from a speed maniac and he forces somebody who lets his dog shit onto the pavement with his face smack into the excrements. He harangues a man who watches child porn and takes his money. This guy who knows what's wrong and how to set it right, is Mux. He is not a strong man and he seems rather likeable, at first sight. His powers: The wrongdoer's knowledge that he or she is wrong, a mighty revolver, the power of surprise and sheer chuzpah. What helps is that Mux is, in a way, what people expect and what they know they deserve when they commit a crime, petty or not.

Mux writes a manifest and he hires unemployed Gerd as a deputy whose main job is cinematography: filming Mux in action. We see this action, the pictures Gerd takes and other pictures, the pictures of the movie, from a non-diegetic position. This indecisiveness - introducing a diegetic camera on the one hand, adding a second one on the other - is rather emblematic of the film. We do not really know what Mux is up to, and we don't know what this film wants, either. This, the director and the author (who is identical with the actor playing Mux) say, is exactly the point. You don't know what exactly to make of Mux. An average enough guy who feels the disillusionment about daily life and about human bevavior in our society we feel. He just draws rather extreme conclusions, taking the position of the law, supplementing it by putting himself in its place.

This act of supplementation, not necessarily in the maxims underlying his actions, just as an act, is, of course, exactly a subversion of the law. He can never be right enough in order to be right in what he does. That's the paradox of his actions and that's it, basically. That's what Mux is up to and that's what this film is about. "Mux", the film, however, goes on for ninety minutes, hugely outrunning its short film premise. The rest, then, is illustration, redundancy, character development, or simply beside the point. The introduction, for example, of a woman, Kira, whom Mux wants to but cannot love is a rather sorry way of explaining what a sorry man Mux is. His character's pathology is simply and even annoyingly reformulated in his erotic impotence.

What turns out to be more interesting is a longish scene showing Mux karaoke singing in a seedy bar, a scene that seems to aim at giving the protagonist a more human side. This singing among the people you expect in such a drab location is, however, strangely touching in a way that exceeds the filmmakers' obvious intentions. This is a very sad moment and even more moving as it happens in, narratively speaking, a scene almost completely beside the point of this overly didactic film. And it does not help at all that the author and director - in the press notes - make a didactical point of not having clearly defined didactical points. This is a concept movie, which is best at the exact moments when it loses sight of its concept.

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