In My Room (Germany)
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
The standout in this year’s Cannes Un Certain Regard competition, Ulrich Köhler’s latest film, like his others, asks how it is possible to attain and maintain one’s independence, this time in the guise of a low-key, post-apocalyptic framework where society itself has seemingly vanished completely. When we first meet Armin (Hans Löw, who will never again get this much solo screen time), he’s a sad-sack TV cameraman who, on the weekends, helps nurse his dying grandmother in his rural childhood home. One day he wakes up, and, without explanation, the Earth’s population has disappeared. Why this happened is not Köhler’s concern; rather, he wants to know what and how: What will Armin do now? What kind of man will Armin become? What does it mean to be independent? How will he accomplish this? And what happens when someone else shows up on the scene? Köhler takes inspiration for his "last man on Earth" story not from film or television forebears, but from the dystopian, inner-directed literature of David Markson and Arno Schmidt, and it shows: Köhler has forged an intelligent, fascinating identity study of what happens when a human is forced to redefine himself and his relation to his environment.