Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

In The Basement

If you have ever had the slightest impression that generally Austrians can be rather a dour lot, particularly the older generations, then you won’t be at all shocked to meet the ones that filmmaker Ulrich Seidl persuaded to show what they get up to in their own basements. We never really learn if he went out of his way to include only the most eccentric and bizarre people, but that is certainly what he ended up with in this new rather peculiar documentary.
It all starts innocently enough with a middle aged woman who unearths storage boxes to reveal creepy life-like babies which she removes to comfort and cuddle with such conviction that it takes a moment to realize that thankfully are only dolls.  In the next basement Franz fancies himself as a bit of an opera singer and after he finishes his aria in front of his bathroom mirror, he sets about cleaning up the place.  It turns out that it is an indoor shooting gallery used by his cronies who, when they are not taking aim at the targets, focus their verbal fire on some very non politically-correct talk about how Austria is now overrun by immigrants.
Not quite as bad as Josef whose packed basement is a treasure trove of Nazi memorabilia ‘the painting of Hitler was the best wedding present I ever received’.  He and three fellow members of a brass band play their instruments there (very badly) and drink copious amounts of wine toasting the good old days.  As he has already boasted that the highlight of his year is a pilgrimage to Germany to visit Hitler’s Bunker, we can easily assume what precise days he is referring too.

Others use their subterranean floors to get some sexual release and maybe experiment more than they would if they were not so hidden away. There is a married couple heavily into mistress/slave domination, and she recounts it all in specific detail as she ties her husband’s genitals to a rope fixed to a pulley in the ceiling. It is all very precise and very painful but neither of them give a glimmer of a hint on their faces, or in the tone of their voices, that they actually really enjoy it at all.  Same too for the lady that is heavily into masochism, yet she recounts that she encouraged her last partner to go to such extremes which resulted in her going to the Police, and having him jailed for 4 years.

This rather oddball and somewhat depressing movie will no doubt appeal to an audience who have acquired a taste for the grotesque and freakish, in fact a little like those in the film itself.

Posted by queerguru  at  01:20

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Genres:  documentary

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