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Lukas is a conscientious objector who delivers meals on wheels as an alternative to military service. Living in similar isolation are his eccentric neighbors, who include an aging prostitute and a crusty war veteran. Most memorably bizarre of all is a man whose apartment is filled with trinkets reflecting his obsession with North Korea, whom Lukas occasionally encounters floating in the river late at night playing "dead man." The protagonist's desolate life changes after he encounters the beautiful, enigmatic Isabella and begins a sporadic romantic relationship with her. He gradually comes to realize she is involved in a troubling relationship with her stepfather, a motivational speaker, and we witness Lukas' transformation from misunderstood admirer to unstable and unpredictable loner. Top prizewinner at the San Sebastian Film Festival, the fourth feature by an extremely talented Georgian emigré working in Germany examines the isolation that people in the West experience from the viewpoint of an outsider -- and it does so with considerable dark humor.
Director's Statement Collapse
You could say that the script for Schussangst found me, not the other way around. Strangely enough, it was just the kind of script I had been looking for, the kind of script which had been on my mind for a while. A poetic thriller, which tells a melancholy story of the loneliness of the human condition, but with enough suspense to ensure that it isn't a film only for cineastes. It is a story of people's unfulfilled hopes and passions, of our failure and survival. For me the windows of the city are synonymous with loneliness. Behind every window there is a life; hidden behind every face on the street are the most incredible stories. And if you look at it like that, there is communal suffering, but nonetheless, every single person carries their destiny alone. Eiserbeck's neighbour Mr. Krausser expresses this best. He wants to emigrate to North Korea. He is not afraid of the dictatorship or of the hardship there, he is afraid of the loneliness here. "There is no community anymore, people don't even know what community means anymore." And in the end even Lukas Eiserbeck's downfall is caused by loneliness and isolation. In the midst of city life he moves within his own little world, a world of water and peacefulness. When he rows he finds peace, everything is soft and still. The camera expresses this. It glides along the water as if on rails. In contrast to this we have the hectic hand-held camera of city life, a life in which Eiserbeck is uncomfortable, where he doesn't fit in. Quiet dark colours enhance the feeling of secrecy in Eiserbeck's world. Eiserbeck is also the only one who sees the night swimmer, he alone. Full of people, the dirty, colourful world of the city, remains dangerously misunderstood by Eiserbeck. There is no scene without Eiserbeck throughout the film, so his view becomes our view. The audience sees through Eiserbeck's eyes, and much remains misunderstood and confusing because Eiserbeck doesn't or can't understand it. Just as every person is full of secrets, so is Schussangst a secretive, one could say, almost mythological film. It is poetic and it is a thriller, and in Schussangst I have found the film I had been looking for, for so long.
Film Information Collapse
[GUNSH] | 2003 | 101 | Narrative Feature
Foreign Title: (Schussangst)
About the Director(s)Collapse
Dito Tsintsadze was born in 1957 in Tbilisi, Georgia. From 1975 to 1981, he attended the Tbilisi Theater and Film Institute. After assisting various directors, he made his first short film in 1990 and then began working for the private film production company Schvidkatsa. In 1996, Tsintsadze came to Berlin to take up a scholarship at the NIPCOW Programme and here began to write the script for his film Lost Killers. He lives with his wife in Berlin.