Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020) conducting his oratorio "Seven Gates of Jerusalem" at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, in 2001. Photo by Dmitry Lovetsky

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Im Keller / In the Basement (2014) – A film by Ulrich Seidl (Download the movie)

Ulrich Seidl returns to the documentary form with this creepy-funny trawl through Austria's suburban cellars.

Corpulent sex slaves, tuba-playing Nazi obsessives, reborn doll fantasists – just a regular stroll through the neighborhood, then, for patented guru of the grotesque Ulrich Seidl, who makes an intriguing return to documentary filmmaking with "In the Basement". Grabby and grubby in equal measure, this meticulously composed trawl through the contents of several middle-class Austrians' cellars (a space, according to Seidl, that his countrymen traditionally give over to their most personal hobbies) yields more than a few startling discoveries. It's not hard to tell, though, that a mixture of fact and fabrication is at work here. The career-high success of Seidl's recent "Paradise" trilogy should boost the distribution prospects of a niche item that is by turns uproarious, repulsive and oddly touching.

The film aimed for the adult audience.

Το "In the Basement" [πρωτότυπος τίτλος: Im Keller (Στο Υπόγειο)] είναι από εκείνα τα ντοκιμαντέρ που παρακολουθείς με το στόμα ανοιχτό, με μια φυσική δυσπιστία για το αν αυτό που βλέπεις είναι αληθινό ή προσεκτικά στημένο. Ο Αυστριακός σκηνοθέτης Ούλριχ Ζάιντλ παρουσιάζει μια σειρά εκκεντρικών συμπατριωτών του, οι οποίοι τον αφήνουν να μπει στο χώρο όπου φυλάσσουν τα πιο προσωπικά, περίεργα, απίστευτα και, σε μερικές περιπτώσεις, απαγορευμένα μυστικά τους. Φετιχιστές, άτομα απολύτως αφιερωμένα στα σεξουαλικά τους παιχνίδια σαδομαζοχισμού και εξουσίας, πολεμοχαρείς εθνικιστές και (δεν θα μπορούσαν να απουσιάζουν) περήφανοι λάτρεις του Αδόλφου Χίτλερ. Κάποιες απρόσμενα ακραίες σκηνές, έξυπνα συνδυασμένες με μαύρο χιούμορ, προκάλεσαν αντίστοιχες αντιδράσεις.

Η ταινία απευθύνεται σε ενήλικο κοινό.

Im Keller / In the Basement (2014)

A film by Ulrich Seidl

Directed by Ulrich Seidl
Idea & concept: Ulrich Seidl, Veronika Franz
Camera: Martin Gschlacht
Editor: Christopher Brunner
Sound: Ekkehart Baumung
Line producer: Konstantin Seitz

Assistant directors: Daniel Hoesl, Astrid Wolfrig

With Fritz Lang, Alfreda Klebinger, Manfred Ellinger, Inge Ellinger, Josef Ochs, Alessa Duchek, Gerald Duchek, Cora Kitty, Peter Vokurek, Walter Holzer

Production: Austria - Germany, 2014

Ulrich Seidl Film Produktion & coop99 filmproduktion

Produced by Ulrich Seidl
Co-producer: Martin Gschlacht

Spoken language: German

With English, French, Greek, Spanish, Portugese & German subtitles

Runtime: 82 minutes

Download the movie using torrent


With English, Spanish, Portugese subtitles

(Size: 1.31 GB – HD 720p)

Download French subtitles

Download Greek subtitles

It's impossible to read even the barest logline for "In the Basement" without thinking immediately of Josef Fritzl and Wolfgang Priklopil, whose unrelated but comparable crimes – the horrific confinement, in their respective basements, of young female victims for years on end – prompted even Austria's political leaders to fear for the country's international image. Recent Austrian cinema hasn't done much to soothe the situation, with numerous works (Markus Schleinzer's "Michael" most directly of all) dwelling on the social aftermath of the cases, as well as their nation’s much-discussed culture of secrecy. Seidl's latest isn’t his first film to fit that bracket, though press notes claim he conceived it years before the Priklopil scandal broke in 2006.

Indeed, the helmer has been upturning the paving stones of Austrian suburbia to unsavory effect throughout his career. The affectionate crowd applause that greeted "In the Basement" at its Venice premiere suggests that his work, through no failing of his own but consistency, may have lost some of its incendiary capacity. What it has regained, however, following the unexpected warmth and qualified optimism of last year's "Paradise: Hope", is some of its chill. From first frame to last, this is an arm's-length exercise in observation, even in scenes of discomfiting intimacy. At least, it poses as one: As in his other documentaries, it's left to the viewer to imagine just how much Seidl has staged or manipulated these human tableaux, though the degree to which they reflect his signature aesthetic and tonal quirks leaves little doubt as to his complicity. (Does everyone in Austria line up their radiators quite so precisely with their narrow, uniformly net-curtained basement windows? Perhaps.)

Things start innocently enough, with a middle-aged, drably-sweatered man (amusingly named Fritz Lang, though the film's participants are identified only in the closing credits) using the acoustics of a cavernous basement to flex his impressive tenor high "C" on a range of operatic standards. That he's doing so before a row of target practice sheets, admittedly, seems a little odd; it emerges that he runs a local shooting gallery, where graying local menfolk come to let off steam and exchange politically incorrect bugbears. Not half as politically incorrect, however, as Josef, a married, mild-mannered fellow whose basement is a densely art-directed gallery of Nazi memorabilia, regarded with little curiosity or concern by his fellow brass-band players who routinely use the space for rehearsals.

Others use their underground space for sexual release: A pneumatic young woman who has quit her job as a supermarket teller to become a prostitute, a former victim of domestic abuse who has found strength in controlled sadomasochism, and a married couple whose indoor relationship is of an extreme mistress-slave nature. The latter subjects gamely provide the film's most queasily NC-17 material, as the heavy-set, hairy-backed Gerald attends to his dominant wife's every whim, licking her genitals clean after urination while his own are subjected to wince-worthy punishment in the couple's crimson sex dungeon. No sections of the film are more haunting, however, than those spent with kindly-looking Alfreda, whose tiny basement storage unit is stacked with creepily lifelike reborn dolls, each one stored in a separate, tissue-lined box, to be removed, cuddled and comforted at will.

Seidl's approach is not to press these ostensibly ordinary folk for expression or explanation; some offer less than others, with the men in particular giving mostly prosaic descriptions of their basements’ contents and histories. We are never told, for example, whether Josef is actually a Nazi sympathizer or whether his disturbing collection is of purely historical interest. (His default reference to the modern-day police as "the Gestapo", however, raises certain inklings.) That affectless approach will frustrate viewers craving more neatly articulated insights into Austria's supposed social singularities; others, meanwhile, will accuse Seidl of not being objective enough, as his stylistic affectations and interferences with reality may create aberrance or uncanniness where there is none. (He has admitted, for example, to constructing a narrative for Alfreda, who is not in fact a doll collector.) Accept his debatable methods, however, and certain profundities emerge: The way several of his female subjects take advantage of below-stairs privacy to reverse conventional gender roles and assert themselves sexually is particularly powerful.

Working for the first time with the brilliant cinematographer Martin Gschlacht – best known for his similarly geometric work with fellow Austrian Jessica Hausner – Seidl has found an ideal creative enabler for his vision. The carefully calibrated gloom of Gschlacht's lighting schemes (all the better to accentuate the frequently bilious colors of the decor) and the sharpness of his seemingly tweezer-set framing often suggests more about these "characters" than they are willing to say about themselves. Christopher Brunner's editing is equally crisp and incisive, and while no production designer is credited, Seidl has apparently chosen subjects who share his eccentric taste in interiors. Even a wall cluttered with African mementoes and macabre taxidermy trophies manages, through Seidl's gaze, to look strangely austere.

Source: Guy Lodge, August 30, 2014 (

More photos

See also

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1985 (2018) – A film by Yen Tan – Cory Michael Smith, Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis, Jamie Chung (Download the movie)

Border (2018) – A film by Ali Abbasi – Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jörgen Thorsson, Sten Ljunggren, Ann Petrén (Download the movie)

Eastern Boys (2013) – A film by Robin Campillo – Olivier Rabourdin, Kirill Emelyanov, Danil Vorobyev (Download the movie)

Die Wand / The Wall (2012) – A film by Julian Roman Pölsler – Starring Martina Gedeck (Download the movie)

Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance (2015) – A film by Tomer Heymann – Ohad Naharin and the Batsheva Dance Company (Download the movie)

Out in the Dark (2012) – A film by Michael Mayer – Nicholas Jacob, Michael Aloni, Jamil Khoury, Alon Pdut, Loai Nofi, Khawlah Hag-Debsy, Maysa Daw, Shimon Mimran (Download the movie)

Call Me by Your Name (2017) – A film by Luca Guadagnino – Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois – James Ivory, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Download the movie)

Seashore (Beira-Mar), 2015 – A film by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon – Mateus Almada, Maurício Barcellos, Elisa Brittes, Fernando Hart, Ariel Artur, Francisco Gick (Download the movie)

mother! (2017) – A film by Darren Aronofsky – Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer (Download the movie)

Okja (2017) – A film by Bong Joon-ho – Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Jake Gyllenhaal, Giancarlo Esposito, Lily Collins, Shirley Henderson (Download the movie)

Maurice (1987) – A film by James Ivory – James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves (HD 1080p)

Shostakovich Against Stalin: The War Symphonies – A Documentary by Larry Weinstein – Netherland Radio Philharmonic, Kirov Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (HD 1080p)

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) – A film by Stephen Frears – Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg (Download the movie)

Son of Saul (2015) – A film by László Nemes – Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn (Download the movie)

Amour (2012) – A film by Michael Haneke – Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, Alexandre Tharaud (Download the movie)

Dmitri Shostakovich: Katerina Izmailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), 1966 – A film by Mikhail Shapiro – Galina Vishnevskaya, Konstantin Simeonov

The New Babylon (Novyy Vavilon), 1929 – A film by Grigori Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg – Music by Dmitri Shostakovich (HD 1080p)

Farinelli (1994) – A film by Gérard Corbiau – Stefano Dionisi, Enrico Lo Verso, Elsa Zylberstein (Download the movie)

Eroica (The Movie, BBC 2003) by Simon Cellan Jones – Ian Hart, Leo Bill, Claire Skinner, Frank Finlay – John Eliot Gardiner (HD 1080p)

Tous les Matins du Monde / All the Mornings of the World / Όλα τα Πρωινά του Κόσμου (1991) – A film by Alain Corneau (Download the movie)

Death in Venice (1971) – A film by Luchino Visconti – Dirk Bogarde, Björn Andrésen, Silvana Mangano – Music by Gustav Mahler (Download the movie)

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