In My Room (2018)

In My Room
Director: Ulrich Köhler
Writer: Ulrich Köhler
Cast: Hans Löw, Elena Radonicich, Michael Wittenborn, Ruth Bickelhaupt, Kathrin Resetarits
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 2.11.2018

Armin (Hans Löw) is growing older, though you couldn’t tell it from the life he’s living or the women he’s hitting on. It’s obvious that things can’t go on much longer the way they are. But it’s not Armin who gives in – he wakes up one morning and the world is changed around him: he seems to be the only person left. In this wasteland, Armin has to build himself a new life, relying only on himself.

It is interesting to contrast and compare In My Room with The Wall, but other than that there was little that I enjoyed about watching it. I found it pretty exhausting to be quite honest.

the film poster showing a man riding a horse in a desolate landscape.

Comparing In My Room and The Wall makes it obvious how very gendered both narratives are. In both, a single person finds themselves all alone and has to learn to survive without any other people. In one, that person is a woman, in the other, it’s a man. The woman builds on her domestic knowledge to grow crops and finds companionship in the animals around her. When a man stumbles on her, he destroys her idyllic self-reliance and freedom. The man turns into a superfarmer seemingly out of nowhere (making nature his servant rather than his partner), rides through the abandoned landscape like a cowboy and when a woman stumbles on him, she is all he needs to complete his transformation from a “soft loser” to a “hard man”.

That comparison is interesting, but it also shows how little In My Room reflects critically on its ideas. There is some kind of Rousseau-type idea of civilization deformation here and if we could all just get back to nature, we would all be better men for it. And I use men in the gendered sense here. That most of humanity won’t make the cut really doesn’t matter in this vision.

Armin (Hans Löw) talking to Kirsi (Elena Radonicich).

Plus, I just hated the fact that as soon as Kirsi (Elena Radonicich) shows up – the woman joining Armin in his lone wolf existence – she starts to take care of him. Never mention the way he approaches a sexual relationship with her and how that particular plot line is resolved.

The best part of the film was the grandmother (Ruth Bickelhaupt). Unfortunately, she isn’t there to stay for long and as soon as the film turns away from her, it got increasingly worse in my book. It ran too long and was generally pretty tedious.

Armin (Hans Löw) riding a horse.

Summarizing: No, thanks.

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