Film Comment Selects 2012

Transfer

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Transfer
Damir Lukacevic, 2010
Germany | 93 minutes

Taking its cue from John Frankenheimer’s 1966 film Seconds, and adding a post-colonial spin to its near-future setup, Transfer gives new meaning to the concept of timesharing—if you substitute living bodies for apartments. The twist? While the elderly clients who engage the services of the Menzana Corporation are wealthy white Germans, the host bodies into which their personalities are downloaded are those of young African refugees who willingly lend out their corporeal residences for 20 hours a day in the knowledge that their families back home are being handsomely compensated in exchange. When Anna and Hermann Goldbeck, an elderly but still devoted couple, opt to submit to the transfer procedure for a trial period due to Anna’s terminal illness, they find themselves inhabiting the gorgeous, perfect bodies of Apolain and Sarah—whose personalities remain intact but offline until the wee hours, when they are granted a daily four-hour window to return to consciousness. Transfer’s premise affords a light edge of social satire as Anna and Hermann negotiate the social awkwardness that their new bodies present, but Damir Lukacevic’s smooth, seductive mise-en-scène maintains a quietly unsettling tone, and soon enough troubling questions of race and exploitation begin coming to the fore as the film’s doubled protagonists wrestle with the moral dilemmas of this arrangement. As Apolain puts it: “They’re using us like clothes. In the morning they put us on; at night they take us off. They bought our bodies but they must never own our souls.”

Series: Film Comment Selects 2012

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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