We Might As Well Be Dead (2022)

Wir könnten genauso gut tot sein (We Might As Well Be Dead)
Directed by Natalia Sinelnikova
2022, 1h 33m

“A high-rise building near the forest is famous for its carefully curated community. When a dog disappears and her daughter refuses to leave the bathroom, security officer ANNA faces an absurd battle against an irrational fear, that slowly spreads amongst the residents and rattles this utopia with a view.” — Rotten Tomatoes

It starts with an intriguing opening where a nuclear family with a 10-year-old son walks in the forest with axes in their hands. There’s a single tall futuristic building on the horizon where they go towards. Their quest unfolds in a minute or two: they are here for a flat interview. While the security, Anna, is showing them the flat, they seem desperate to move in. The father kneels down, begs, and puts his son’s head above the parapet. At this moment, it’s not clear why this family is out on a limb. But the protocol Anna adapts hints at the idea that this flat or the building is a privileged place. On the one hand, this ceremonial interview, the hyperbolic shots and mise-en-scène is a precursor of some allegorical storytelling; on the other hand, I couldn’t keep myself from thinking that it’s just a random flat interview in Berlin where dozens of people struggle and engulfed while not showing any physically noticeable reactions.

As the story develops, the ‘high-rise’ building is introduced as a perfect place to live with full security, distant but respectful neighbors, and soothing leisure activities. A pornographically enhanced gated community. But as anyone might expect, the spell is broken at some point.

Initial associations: Ben Wheatley’s J.G. Ballard adaptation High-Rise (2015), completely superficially Yuriy Bykov’s Durak (2014), and Yeşim Ustaoğlu’s Pandora’s Box (2008).

to be continued…

p.s. I. TODO: Find the choir OST that plays in the opening and the ending. The Internet didn’t help me at this point.

p.s. II. A Letterboxd user HolyMotor whom I love their reviews left this comment with a 1/5 star, and I auto-translated:

“Passive-aggressive-obscure Lanthimos fascism/dystopia lumberjack/slow-motion bingo with pretty poster.

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