We Might As Well Be Dead (Natalia Sinelnikova)

Started by wilder, July 17, 2022, 06:46:21 AM

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Two parents and their young child are seen crossing the German countryside—bog-eyed, weapons in hand, sweaty yet dressed to the nines. They move fast towards the high-rise that sticks out of the edge of the landscape like a godsend. If the interview goes well, the apartment will be theirs. Few know this feeling better than Anna (Ioana Iacob), the complex's security officer (as well as tour guide and daily weather report dispatcher). She is a useful, beloved member of this "curated" utilitarian community but she soon finds herself in the midst of an imbroglio. Her daughter grows convinced she harbours an ancient evil—and refuses to leave the bathroom. Worse yet, a dog's disappearance creates a panic that spreads across the building like wildfire.

The hell of homeownership and social integration is taken to extremes in Natalia Sinelnikova's chilling debut WE MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD. Beyond the immediate literary comparison point—Ballardian high-rises as metaphor for class warfare—one finds in this Babelsberg Film University graduation project (!) a carefully observed dystopia reflecting on the director's personal experience of immigration and antisemitism in the European context. Centered around Ioana Iacob's masterful performance (also seen in Radu Jude's work, which tackles Romania's complicity in the Holocaust), Sinelnikova's speculative character study blossoms into a powerful illustration of an encroaching, insidious fascist momentum hiding in plain sight.

Directed by Natalia Sinelnikova
Written by Natalia Sinelnikova & Viktor Gallandi


Currently playing at IFC Center in NY and the Lumiere Cinema at the Music Hall in LA