Der menschliche Faktor
Nina and Jan own an advertising agency. They are middle-class and have two children and a rat, Zorro. When the family arrives at Nina’s family home on the Belgian seaside, they are met by the stale air of the living room. When they open a window to air it out the silent, unheard, and unseen is destined to start revealing itself. It all begins with a break-in. Was it the local youths who post provocative videos on social media? Or perhaps an attempt by people who oppose a right-wing politician, who is Nina and Mark’s client, to intimidate the couple? And did the break-in, which acts as a catalyst for the family’s disconnection, happen the way they think it did?
It can quite rightly be said that Italian-born director and screenwriter Ronny Trocker’s second feature inhabits the same space of non-linear storytelling in the way it explores family estrangement as Michael Haneke. Having screened at both Sundance and the Berlin Film Festival, the film demands that its viewers pay attention as it untangles this Hamburg family’s fears, phobias, affectations, and desires. Being almost a thriller, the way the film’s points of view branch off and the elliptical arcs the narrative makes creates the Rashomon effect, adding an air of uncertainty about the veracity of what we see. The lead characters are played by the most prominent actors in European cinema – Mark Waschke from Germany, and Sabine Timoteo from Switzerland (The Chronicles of Melanie, 2016).