Denkraum (2020)

Alex (Manuel Melluso) works and pretty much lives in a room full of monitors which show the lives of many other people. He’s getting over the loss of his partner Alice (Alba Barbullushi) who has just left him, so in order to escape his despair, he creates a social network he calls the Denkraum. But instead of posting cute animal photos, memes and political diatribes, this online  meet-up is all about confronting what people fear.

The language of this film is distortion, both in audio and visual forms, as well as chat bubbles that drive the narrative. It’s a disorienting narrative that doesn’t look like any other movie that I’ve seen, which is a definite plus. This is definitely not a film that everyone will enjoy, as it pushes itself toward a surreal look and feel, but for those willing to get into it, it has some gorgeous visuals and vignettes as Alex looks into the world around him through those screens as the Denkraum seems to evolve into a self-aware network.

There’s also a religious cult that the movie gives glimpses of before letting them take over the story by the end, as well as end of the world conspiracies, murder and plenty of sexualized violence. It kind of feels like doomscrolling after the drugs kick in and finding yourself unable to stop.

Director and writer Luca Paris also made two shorts, The Stain and Vampires – They Never Sleep at Night. This is his first full-length movie.

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