Markus Schleinzer’s debut film Michael created a stir at its premiere at Cannes in 2011. This is a portrait of an impassive man, remarkably (or un-remarkably) portrayed by Michael Fuith, who we observe quietly going about his suburban life – attending his work, returning with his shopping to cook dinner in his neat and tidy home.
We soon learn this man, Michael, has a boy held captive in his cellar. What makes the film so compelling is the ordinariness of their strangely domestic set up, at times they could be mistaken for father and son. Michael cuts the boy's hair, they prepare for Christmas and take trips to local parks. The true horrors of what is going on are only implied to us.
The film deftly avoids emotions, judgement and even controversy – and as it should, we hardly need to be coerced into a feeling or opinion on this. What plays out has a cool, slow burning tension, fractured inter- mittently with shocking moments and sometimes even humour, that serve to remind the viewer of the quiet chaos that lies not only in the cellar, but which often lurks beneath the ordinary…
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