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.