We started our “Hidden Treats” series earlier this week to get your minds off candy and on a trio of indie flicks that crossed our path earlier this year and are still flying below the radar.
The one we’re watching the closest is German horror film Der Samurai (review), written and directed by Till Kleinert. It stars Michel Diercks, Pit Bukowski, Michael Schumacher, Uwe Preuss, and Ulrike Bliefert.
It’s a bloody, genre-blending tale of civilization versus the wilderness as an obsessive police detective pursues, and is pursued by, a mysterious cross-dressing, katana-wielding killer in the wooded border between Germany and Poland. These seeming opposites are eventually revealed to have more in common than one might initially suspect…
Kleinert spoke with Dread Central at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival about his seminal horror genre influences (including a childhood encounter with a certain pizza-faced nightmare-maker), his life-long fascination with fear, and the casting of the film’s titular feral swordsman.
We also interviewed the two leads. Screen newcomer Bukowski discussed the unlikely road to his bold debut turn in primal screen savagery while Diercks explained the primal, dark, fairy tale power of Der Samurai.
A samurai-wielding figure (Bukowski) wearing a white dress lurks menacingly in the forest, waiting to descend upon an unsuspecting village in the muddy backwaters of rural East Germany. As heads roll with each stroke of his sword, dutiful, straight-laced cop Jakob (Diercks) becomes increasingly powerless to resist the draw of the Samurai’s feral otherness. The two enter into a bizarre folie à deux as Jakob is forced to confront his own carnal impulses that he has long sought to repress.