Monday, November 18, 2013

Suspended State

Bungalow (2002) - Köhler
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A teenage soldier Paul (Lennie Burmeister) deserts his squad at a roadside gas station and comes back home. His parents are on holiday in Italy, so the house is empty. Things get complicated when his older brother Max (Devid Striesow, Yella, Three, The Heart is a Dark Forest) shows up with his pretty Danish actress girlfriend, Lene (Trine Dyrholm). They are on the way to Munich because Lene is about to star in a low grade German Sci-fi flick. They leave in two days. It's quite obvious that the brothers don't get along. Paul lies about his AWOL status and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lene. Stooped, sulking and completely inept in human interactions, Paul is not just another lost, wayward youth. There is something more dangerous hidden in his unmotivated actions. There is something missing in him.

The post-Wall Germany's collective identity crisis and its angst is demonstrated by an unexplained, ominous explosion in the middle of the film, as our characters watch the plume of smoke rising in the distance from the roof of the house in their quiet suburban town. No one knows what exactly happened. Everyone has their own theories and no one believes the news media. Everyone remains suspicious and on guard. Bungalow does an amazing job at showing the German society treading dangerous, unforeseen territory in the new millennium.

Bungalow plays part of MoMA Film Series The Berlin School: Films from the Berliner Schule Nov.20 through Dec.6. Please visit MoMA website for details.

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