Content Note: (critical treatment of) white supremacy, fascism and cults
Plot: When they were very small, Irina (Greta Bohacek) and her brother Paul (Claude Heinrich) came into the care of soap producer Fust (Sam Louwyck). That means, they started working in his factory and learned to revere him like a god, always hoping to be pretty and clean enough to make it from below (the factory) to above (his mansion). And it seems that Irina finally gets her chance at a turn in the light when Fust grows tired of one of his followers. Only that this means that Irina has to leave Paul behind.
A Pure Place starts off well enough, with building up the whole setting as a thinly veiled allegory for white supremacy. But then it gets lost in its own story, seems to turn in circles and never reaches a satisfying conclusion. Plus, there were some really problematic elements with regards to Irina and the male gaze that ruined the film for me a little.
Vienna in the not too distant future. People have lost their right to simply die: after you pass away, your body is reanimated, put into a vegetative state and used as processing power or storage device, put to work to pay off the debts you’re sure to have left behind. The only thing that will keep you from becoming a computer part is a death insurance – and Vincent (Clemens Schick) is the best salesman of this of course very expensive insurance. When his boss (Marion Mitterhammer) gives him the task of convincing Wladimir (Daniel Olbrychski) of getting an insurance, he finds himself confronted with Wladimir’s daughter Lisa (Lena Lauzemis) who is fighting to get everybody their right to death back.
I saw Stille Reserven a while ago at a test screening where they showed an almost but not quite finished version of it and asked for feedback. I was not particularly taken with it then, but I wanted to see it once more as a finished product (also to support Austrian SciFi) before judgding it completely. Unfortunately, neither the film nor my impression of it changed much in the meantime. There was just too much about it that was utterly familiar.