In The Dam, although it is an experimental film, Kristl eschews the necessary earnestness in addressing his subject. The manufactured, unambiguously humorless profundity proffered up by other German contemporaries is absent here. Laughter is allowed. Kristl takes the dreadful liberty of tomfoolery, sending up himself, the characters, the action, "tragedy," and everything else, including the audience, that might be held sacred. Within the framework of the action, we recognize a love triangle, one of the simplest of dramatic configurations. Not only the basic idea, but also numerous particulars, both in subject and style, are reminiscent of the films of Roman Polanski, which Kristl doubtless saw and holds in esteem. We meet two men: one is meant to embody the outsider, the artistic, intellectual, individualist. The other looks like the embodiment of the well-to-do man, the burgher, the functionary, the capitalist. The two battle for the favor of an indecisive and domineering girl.
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