Dir: Nikias Chryssos
Official Selection International Feature Film: Germany
The Richter Scale says: Klaus (Daniel Fripan) says he’s eight years old, but he looks he’s been shaving his face for a few years. He lives with his Mother (Oona Von Maydell) and Father (David Scheller) in a mansion inside a bunker and it looks he’s never stepped outside of it. When a student that the audience will only come to know as The Student (Pit Bukowski) rents a room in the bunker searching for peace and quiet so he can finish his work, the parents see an opportunity for Klaus to get a better education and hire him as a tutor. Through these lessons and with the parents’ noses always around, the Student starts to understand Klaus better and will soon teach him a lesson his parents never wanted him to learn.
With his feature-length directorial debut, Nikias Chryssos seems to be inspired by the films of David Lynch, creating an atmosphere where everything is just a Little distorted, making everyone uncomfortable at all times (even The Student’s features seem to come out of a nightmare). The actors adapt to this atmosphere with performances so stylized they feel like they belong in the theater (there are only four character and most of the film happens inside the bunker, this could easily be a play), making sure it feels like they don’t belong in cinema. The bunker itself looks like the inside of a prison (particularly the room where The Student sleeps) with some rooms that feel straight out of an idyllic suburban home. Understanding that this is the only thing Klaus has ever known, the plot finds a heart that films of this style often lack.
It’s an uneasy experience and there’s even the hint that something supernatural might be going on in that bunker, but within it all is the story of a son who was never set free by his parents, until someone tells him that a much larger world exists (it’s ironic that his parents make him learn capital cities). Every parent wants the best for their child (Klaus dreams of being President), but every parent also fears that life won’t receive the child like they hope it will. This fear is taken to near unbearable extremes here. Another interesting feature, Klaus looks like a grown man (and he might be), but his height is that of a child. I’ll let everyone interpret that as they will.
This film will screen at the Ángela Peralta Theater today at 4:00 pm and in Guanajuato City at the Auditorium at the University of Guanajuato on Wednesday, July 22 at 5:00 pm.
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