What can be in the mind of the director of a film like Naked
, a film which had its debut at the Venice International Film Festival in September. Three couples meet for dinner and discover that they really don't know each other at all. Later, when playing a party game they can't tell when undressed and blindfolded if they are touching their partner or not. Dressed, they are aware of class differences, of competitive behavior, of jealousy and of having different goals. When nakedness becomes an equalizer director Doris Dörrie tries to scale back other levels of human interaction with this simple exercise. While one may be attracted to a person, maybe just out of having the correct mating vibes, how do you hold a relationship together? Unfortunately this film only poses the question but leaves no answers.
Dylan's recently acquired wealth on the stock market makes him an object of envy but its clear that despite this, he is looking for a true connection with his partner Charlotte. Annette and Boris seem the most compatible. Interestingly Emilia and Felix who have recently broken up do not go through the game. They seem to know each other quite well, too well. Is it possible to start again, naked, and forget the patterns that emerge in human interaction? Dörrie's theme carries a torch but the fire is quickly put out.
The décor of Dylan's apartment is especially suited to the story. It is coolly classic and white. This modern apartment with sliding doors and panes of red and blue bends the gender construction of the couples. It reinforces the emptiness the couples feel in trying to connect with one another.
Are the surfaces of the interior symbolic of what we know or don't know about each other? This seems to be Dörrie's quest and she accomplishes it in a rather fundamental way, a hip sociological study of heterosexual German youth which should appeal to the under 30 crowd. One thing that is dated, the wealth Dylan acquires during the film is a product of the extravagance that was prevalent in 2001. By now, Dylan is probably unemployed and collecting unemployment checks. That could be true for all the other yuppies in the film except Emilia who lives in tent in her apartment.
This is Moira Sullivan for Movie Magazine International, Venice Italy
© 2003 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 2/03