Saturday, January 31, 2009

HEARTBEAT DETECTOR - Disturbing, audacious, provocative, intelligent, restrained...

...some of the adjectives I could use to describe Nicolas Klotz' political thriller, HEARTBEAT DIRECTOR. Mathieu Amalric stars as an in-house psychologist at a Kafkaesque corporation, whose HQ is all perfectly symmetric, sterile spaces. His duties extend beyond the usual HR bilge to providing a secure place where company employees can dance, get high and explore their secret sexual desires. The company thus has total control over its employees' lives. 

SC Farb is, of course, a thinly veiled reference to IG Farben, and all those German corporate names we still shop with who, during World War Two, benefited from Jewish slave labour. Amalric's character is forced to move beyond the oleaginous corporate persona he has built for himself when called to assess the company's French boss, played by the ever-impressive Michael Lonsdale. The quiet conversations between the naive psych and the weary, dessicated captain of industry, are chillingly quiet and matter of fact. The movie left me emotionally drained and disturbed.

HEARTBEAT DETECTOR played Cannes 2007 and was released in 2007/2008. It is available on DVD.

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