1999 German nearly-silent futuristic fairy tale

Rating: 15/20

Plot: An ugly blind man, his ugly wife, and their uglier son try to save a dilapidated bath house from demolition and the threat that it could be replaced by something that isn't a bath house. Anton, the ugly son, falls in love with the smell of Bjork's undergarments and eventually gets to see her swimming naked with a fish. Ostensibly, there is a woody (i.e. hard-on). Unfortunately, tragedy strikes and Bjork seeks the thuggish and more than likely shaggy arms of a slippery-lookin' devil named Gregor (also ugly), and Anton has to simultaneously fight for the love of the pop star and for the survival of his family's bath house.

Tuvalu is quirky, gorgeously filmed, and almost too precious for its own good. The set design, with a multi-storied bath house with crumbling walls and a labyrinth of rusting pipes looked like something straight from a Mad Max movie, apocalyptic and at times nightmarish while somehow always remaining whimsical and beautiful. The feel of the set was further enhanced by the use of both old school black 'n' white and old school color, lots of sepia tones for the indoors scenes and lots of off-blues for the water and outdoors scenes, both used as an homage to silent movies. Both the colors and the set, the herky-jerky plot, the use of ugly European actors, the lopsided cinematography and weird close-ups of the ugly actors' faces, and the dry humor were all reminiscent of Delicatessen, so much in fact that I probably should have deducted points for the blatant rip-off. Oh, and the overly-exaggerated sound effects--lots of creaking and squeaking. The film had no dialogue other than various grunts and squeals and the occasional uttered name, and this, with all the sepia and the Chaplinesque slapstick, recalls the silent film era. Parts of this cross the line into way-too-silly territory, but it's a fun, very French little fairy tale of a German movie that I'm glad I got to see.

Here's a picture of an ugly person with Bjork followed by a picture of an ugly person watching Tuvalu:

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