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View All In the Basement (Im Keller) News
All Critics (14)
| Top Critics (5)
| Fresh (12)
| Rotten (2)
In the Basement is a brisk, bracing, and often very funny film about the seeds of fascism in contemporary Austrian society.
This often hilarious movie descends into the unseen spaces of Austrian homes - literally and figuratively - and creates a stage for their residents' fantasies of sex, violence and power.
Make of it what you will, this off-the-wall film essay entertains hugely while it makes the audience squirm in their seats.
Grabby and grubby in equal measure, this meticulously composed trawl through the contents of several middle-class Austrians' cellars yields more than a few startling discoveries.
Its interest is in private lives, in a single population, in subordinating the look and feel of its subjects to the aesthetic vision of their documenter.
There's a pleasurable quality to [ director Ulrich] Seidl's direction even when what he's filming is repugnant. As with Haneke, it makes his provocations go down easier.
To some extent, In the Basement is crafted in the same way that John Waters created Shock Value, an often fascinating, frequently creepy, unashamedly funny compilation of oddities and curiosities that are occasionally hard to digest.
We're never quite sure how much the director is ridiculing his subjects, or simply allowing them to be. Either way feels plenty creepy.
Can his fellow Austrians be as strange, as blunt, as unfathomably cruel as lore and legend hold? ... Ja, in almost every successive gesture, statement, offhanded remark... sexual predilection and, especially, in those memorabilia collections.
Among other things, In the Basement is a musky slog through the fundament of fear and desire in particularly feminine and masculine permutations.
With In The Basement, [Seidl] seems to falling back on the same old shocks. The freakiness is losing its capacity to disturb.
It's in more conventional observation and confessions to camera that the film really delivers its strange, melancholic universe.
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