Stillleben tells the story of a father (Fritz Hörtenhuber) who is in love with his daughter Lydia (Daniela Golpashin) and has been ever since she was a kid. He has kept it a secret but when his son Bernhard (Christoph Luser) finds out by chance, the lives of the entire family come crashing down.
Stillleben is pretty damn excellent. It’s thoughtful and intelligent and approaches its subject with respect and without judgement.
Pedophilia is not an easy topic and most people prefer not to think about it, other than in general terms of outrage. But as usual in life, things aren’t just black and white and Stillleben sits smack-dab in the middle of the grey area and waits for you to do the judging on your own terms.
Which might be harder than you might think. The father never actually touched the daughter in any inappropriate way. In fact, she’s suffered all her life because he was more distant than she would have liked him to be. All he did was wank to photos of her and pay a prostitute so he may call her Lydia. Those are not crimes (though I would feel damn uncomfortable as a daughter if I found out that my dad used photos of myself to arouse himself) but yet he gets punished pretty hard for it. Or better yet, he punishes himself for it when he’s found out.
That Meise and Reider decided to approach it that way is what gives the film its novelty. There have been movies (like The Woodsman) that have tried to show that pedophiles are people, too, even when they’re guilty of abuse but taking pedophilia as a starting point for a discussion about thoughtcrime is new and fascinating.
And if that wasn’t enough, it also works very well as a movie. The cast is excellent, the pacing is good and the soundtrack is cool – I especially loved Soap&Skin’s cover of Voyage Voyage. A strange and strangely fitting mix.
Summarising: Thoughtprovoking and recommended.