The Fan

The Fan ★★★½

“The Fan” circulates the winds of desolation and desire. Fiddle with the settings all you like; it will switch to an icy cold gust only when it knows you are far from good and ready. 

Director Eckhardt Schmidt’s masochistic fantasy of a schoolgirl searching for her pop star idol begins in the realm of Brian De Palma and ends… well, let’s just say there is an electric turkey carver involved. 

Schmidt’s film adapts his own source novel to the screen. Having started as a film critic, the director has the medium fluency to veer around the edges of several genres and styles. He borrows from Fellini and Visconti, and contributes to coming works from fellow Germans Haneke and Kargl. 

There is youthful discovery and drifting in “The Fan”; but also the terror of having one’s deepest held wants warped into distorted needs. 

And while the singer at the center of “Fan” protagonist Simone’s affections goes only by the enigmatic “R,” there is one full name that must be invoked in connection with the work: Fassbinder. 

In the economic miracle-era works of the troubled visionary, the perversions of even the most depraved individuals are always secondary in terror to those of national cruelty: fascists, Nazis, and all those that trailed in their wake. 

With “The Fan,” Schmidt horrifically, brilliantly; manipulates the obsession of a teenager into a metaphor for Hitler’s rise to might. 

In so doing, the author-director imbues an immense power into both girl; and idol. Neither knows the strength their concentration of infatuation can wreak. 

Sweaty Dudes Cinema Runner-Up: Simone sweats, maybe makes some around her do a little more than sweat. But fascistic obsession does not a true dude make. 

theriverjordan liked these reviews