There is nothing that could concise David Wnendt’s Feuchtgebiete aka Wetlands in a single word. Well if one’s given the liberty to express what they’d seen or rather witnessed in a plethora of words, it’d most likely be something close to obscene, disgusting, repulsive and most of all shocking. If you’ve seen its red band previews, you can figure out instantly whether the movie is for you or not. On the other hand if you thought this’d be a usual sex-comedy with some gross factor, believe me when I tell ya what you saw in the preview is nothing compared to the movie. Nothing will prepare you for Wetlands‘ odd 105 minutes.
Greeted initially with a splendid shot of a skater girl, it quickly goes downhill before you can say “ugh”. Wetlands follows the sexual and unhygienic adventures of Helen Memel, a girl who is hellbent on making her life as unhygienic as possible and labeling it as her ‘experiments’. Helen played charmingly by Carla Juri, is on an experiment with her own genitals and whatnot as she initially states in the movie. Its kind of a parallel she draws with how she feels for her parents and their divorce. While light at heart, the seemingly damaged 18 year old as Helen may seem it also brings out how bad she needed to be loved.
But beneath the layers of her weird habits and unimaginable sexual fantasies, lies the conflict with herself and an intense yearning for her parents’ reconciliation. And Carla Juri does justice to the role. Her performance was inexplicably good, shuffling from cute and sexy to crude and repelling seemed like an easy feat for her. Right from the CG titles, her narration reminded me sorely of David Fincher’s Fight Club.
I for one consider myself hardened, watching movies like A Serbian Film, The Human Centipede, Martyrs, Inside, Hostel or even Salo but there were scenes in Wetlands that truly deserved to be called cringe worthy. I wouldn’t suggest Wetlands for the faint of heart/stomach or the more perverse either. As evident from the trailers this was marketed as a over the top raunchy comedy but if you overlook all those gross and perverse segments (which is hard I know), there is a sensibly written story about the perils a late-adolescent girl goes though, be it physical or emotional. This movie does a decent or rather an indecent job of blending the aversion with a story of someone who aches for some love. And to answer the the very question I’d started with I’d call Wetlands, “Repelling yet Riveting!”. I wonder if the same would work had it been a male lead, and of course an immediate reminiscence was Qaushiq Mukherjee’s Gandu.