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6.6
/10
355 Ratings

In the Basement

Im Keller

Directed by Ulrich Seidl
Austria, 2014
Documentary

Synopsis

The film is about people and their obsessions. The film is about basements and what people do in them in their free time. The film is about brass-band music and opera arias, expensive furniture and cheap men’s jokes, sexuality and sadism, fitness and fascism, whips and dolls…

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In the Basement Directed by Ulrich Seidl
For its first half, In the Basement is a brisk, bracing, and often very funny film about the seeds of fascism in contemporary Austrian society. The people Seidl observes in his short, sketchlike sequences are generally obsessed with order and domination, yet he renders their obsession nonthreatening, if not comically pathetic, by presenting them like characters in a comic strip, centering each of them in symmetrical or near-symmetrical compositions with lots of negative space at the top.
November 19, 2015
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In both the specificity of his conception and the fastidiousness of his execution, with every mounted ibex and spanking bench seemingly arranged to present the desired flattened perspective, Seidl is as bound to his gimlet-eyed style as his subjects are to their obsessions. It isn’t the same thing as perfection, but by now Seidl has refined and delimited his approach to such a point that he cannot make a mistake.
November 09, 2015
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Ulrich Seidl’s raw portrayals of ordinary people have been criticized as unflattering and wallowing in abjection. But occasionally, as in his newest, “In the Basement,” the director can make you wonder whether the problem doesn’t lie with his films but with everyone else’s. This often hilarious movie descends into the unseen spaces of Austrian homes — literally and figuratively — and creates a stage for their residents’ fantasies of sex, violence and power.
November 05, 2015
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