Review: ‘Halbe Welt’

Reviewed at Turin Intl. Young Cinema Festival (competing), Italy, Nov. 14, 1993. Running time: 85 MIN.

Reviewed at Turin Intl. Young Cinema Festival (competing), Italy, Nov. 14, 1993. Running time: 85 MIN.

Herzog … Rainer Egger

Katz … Dani Levy

Sunny … Maria Schrader

Sina … Mercedes Echerer

Repro … Goran Rebic

Though this inventive meeting of “Total Recall” and “Alphaville” probably won’t keep Paul Verhoeven awake at night, Florian Flicker’s grunge sci-fi “Half World” shows a fertile imagination running rings round a slender budget. Pic loses itself slightly amid narrative digressions but should find a core of genre admirers.

Flicker conjures up a festering future world where the sun’s harmful rays force people to live by night. However, the rebellious Herzog (Rainer Egger) risks arrest and his health for a regular fix of sunlight.

For high payers, exposure to nature is available through computer-generated experiences of an earlier world. The cheaper alternative is panoramic postcards illegally sold by a street hawker.

Themes of artificial existence and self-serving society are intelligently illustrated. But Flicker shifts tracks too frequently, focusing on a succession of sketchy characters (Herzog being the most constant) and muddling the mechanics of his story of survival under a coercive regime.

Performances are nondescript, but the film’s shoestring effects are varied and convincing, among them a virtual-reality option for mountain climbers. Scenes of blinding sunlight were achieved by repeatedly copying original footage before switching to negatives.

Halbe Welt

(AUSTRIAN)

Production

An Allegro Filmprods. production. Produced by Helmut Grasser. Directed by Florian Flicker. Screenplay, Flicker, Michael Sturminger.

Crew

Camera (color), Jerzy Palacz; editor, Berhard Weirather; music, Andreas Haller; art direction, Andreas Donhauser, Renate Martin; costume design, Anette Schroder; sound, Weirather.
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