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by Tim Oppermann

grade: 6.5

With an essential mise-en-scène with clear references to poetic realism and where blue and red tones prevail, director Tim Oppermann contributes to the alienating effect of Frisch.

In a world apart

There are realities in the world in which we live that, until we have experienced them first hand, we cannot even imagine. This, for example, can be the case in a sauna, where everyone must stay as Mother Nature made them and where paradoxically situations can arise. Young Max (played by Lukas Samuel) knows something about this, and for the first time he decides to go and relax in a sauna in his home town. The boy is, then, the protagonist of the short film Frisch, directed by Tim Oppermann and which was supposed to be part of theprogramme of the Diagonale 2020. Following the cancellation of the festival, this work was also included in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished.

From the very first moment Max enters the sauna, therefore, there is a strange atmosphere: a girl – apparently interested in him – seems to spy on him as he is about to take off his clothes. But will she really be attracted to him or, in reality, is her ambiguous attitude concealing quite different intentions?

With an essential mise-en-scène with clear references to poetic realism and in which tones of blue and red prevail (but, in any case, with monochrome framing), Tim Oppermann contributes to further intensifying the alienating effect of the film. The sauna depicted here, for its part, seems anything but relaxing, with noisy and molesting bathers, people rolling around on the floor between one locker and another, and even mysterious disappearances of clothing.

Max, for his part, seems totally unfamiliar with the environment represented here. And, as another of the sauna’s guests said, he still seems totally naive, decidedly ‘fresh’ (hence, indeed, Frisch, the film’s title) compared to the other people we see, in a parade of ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ faces, on the screen.

Tim Oppermann, for his part, has managed in just a few minutes to create an ironic and impressive film, although, especially at the beginning, it struggles a little to take off and tends, at the same time, almost to go around in circles. The ”fault”, most probably, lies in the short time available. The protagonists of this bizarre Frisch, in fact, need a deeper characterisation. And who knows how many more stories could come out of such situations. And yet, at the end of the screening, the direction is there and it all makes sense, while inevitably leaving the audience with a question: how much would the impact of the story change if it were transposed into a full-length film? Probably, everything could find its own necessary completion. And who knows if Tim Oppermann, for his part, hasn’t already thought about this.

Original title: Frisch
Directed by: Tim Oppermann
Country/year: Austria / 2019
Running time: 9’
Genre: comedy
Cast: Lukas Samuel, Petra Morzé, Gerald Votava, Masa Stanic, Aya Sky
Screenplay: Lorenz Uhl
Cinematography: Moritz Uthe
Produced by: Tim Oppermann, Lorenz Uhl

Info: the page of Frisch on the website of the Diagonale; the website of Tim Oppermann