Sunday, June 7, 2020


In My Room (2018) - Köhler
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The apocalypse or extinction of human race comes in suddenly and without a bang in Ulrich Köhler's In My Room. The Sci-fi tinged dystopian near future has been the genre of choice for many prominent filmmakers working today. And Köhler, one of the Berlin School directors, is no exception. And he delved in to it previously, in Bungalow (2002). Rest assured, In My Room is not a wistful comedy or action thriller of Hollywood's view of the future. It's realistic version of what if and the reflection of the current consumerist society we live in.

Armin (Hans Löw) is a slovenly TV cameraman in his 30s who is prone to fuck ups. Living in a tiny, unkempt apartment alone and not getting any younger, he is wasting away his life by chasing young girls and getting fucked up. He visits his dying grandma at his father's house. His devorcee father is dating someone new. Other than that, life is uneventful. Then grandma passes away. His father doesn't want to be consoled. So Armin leaves and get wasted looking at party boats floating by in his car, under the elevated highway.

The next morning, he realizes that everyone has vanished. There are empty cars and motor bike strewn about on the road, no attendants at the gas station. The phone has no signal. After building a makeshift pyre for his grandmother in her bedroom, Armin takes off, leaving his father's house on fire. During a joyride in a cop car through the empty streets of small town near Switzerland where he grew up, he finds trapped horses in the tunnel and frees them.

Next time we see Armin, shirtless and fit, is working on some type of hand rigged watermill using the stream. It turns out the rig powers his make-shift home where he irrigates land and grows animals. He goes supply runs on a horseback with a hunting rifle that used to belong to his neighbor, to empty shops and grocery stores. He seems efficiently settled down living by himself, as the possibly only man on earth. One night, a dog snatches his goat calf and he goes after it and falls off his horse after dog attacks him. It turns out the dog belongs to Kirsi (Elena Radonicich), an Italian speaking woman who's been living in a small RV. They haven't seen anyone other than themselves. They could be the only people on earth. They become close. There are still plenty of remnants of the human civilization, like canned food and DVDs and Techno music which they enjoy. But while Armin is pretty much settled in to the environment and accepts the new world, Kirsi remains curious and searching. He wants a child, she doesn't. She wants to see the world and doesn't want to stay with him.

In My Room realistically imagines the apocalypse where you might be the last man on earth and infinite choices we might encounter living in the comfort of the advanced capitalism or remnants of it. You can choose Armin's way, a city boy who seems to be enjoying being a self-made man and content being domestic or Kirsi, who is from a small town, trying to experience the world. The tragedy here is, the comfortable society we led so far gives you way many options, so even if you are the only man and only woman on earth, there is no guarantee that you will end up with each other. Sex and intimacy? Yeah sure. But the couple is seen in a DVD store browsing not only Ben Affleck movies (Kirsi's favorite) but the store's massive porn collection. Köhler seems to tell us that we have so many things to entertain ourselves with, companionship and loneliness take a backseat even at the world's end.