VIWIFF: Finsterworld

(Germany, 120 mins)
CAST Corinna Harfouch, Ronald Ronald Zehrfeld, Sandra Hüller, Carla Juri, Michael Maertens, Johannes Krisch
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Who says Germans don’t have a sense of humour? This black comedy (“finster” means “dark” in German, and the title is a wordplay on the director’s last name), which Finsterwalder wrote with her husband, Swiss novelist Christian Kracht, is a daring, charmingly absurd reflection of the broken German soul 70 years after World War II.

While a group of independent high school students has a gruesome experience at a former concentration camp, “Furries”- people dressed up in costumes portraying anthropomorphic characters - gather together looking for acceptance. A well-to-do couple clinging to their youthful ideals speeds toward Paris in a rented, “no Nazi-autos, please” car, and an esthetician who despises German folk songs develops a peculiar taste for his elderly female clients.

These tales of loss of national identity, and the search for love in this ensemble piece are elegantly filmed, and often surprisingly morbid – watch out for the optical illusion of a rotating Cadillac sign turning into a swastika – no SFX required.

Preceded by: The Meeting (Karen Lam, 16 min, Canada)

In a weekly support group, four serial killers confess their darkest sins, hoping to cure themselves of their homicidal tendencies. But all hell breaks loose when a blonde, female newcomer decides to join….

Vancouver’s queen of horror, Karen Lam, keeps on gathering awards all over the world with this well executed, sophisticated and funny gem that turns your expectations of serial killers upside down.