Sunday, March 26

Special Events ArchiveBoston Underground Film Festival 2017

Hidden Reserves

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Director: Valentin Hitz
Screenwriter: Valentin Hitz
Cast: Clemens Schick, Lena Lauzemis, Daniel Olbrychski
2016 | Austria/Germany/Switzerland | DCP | 96 min

Where death with dignity comes at a premium, an insurance salesman turned narc must reevaluate his ideology when he falls for the rebel he’s assigned to entrap.

In the near future, the corporate state has found a way to wrest every owed penny from the corpses of debtors who die without death insurance. Servitude beyond the grave consists of an afterlife as repurposed organs, surrogacy, or data storage, with an entire technological industry and infrastructure in place to keep this insidious machination humming along until the debts are repaid.

Steely insurance agent Vincent Baumann (Clemens Schick) sells death with dignity to the wealthy elite that can afford it. Finding fulfillment in metrics and sales goals, Baumann is as heartless as the system that employs him. With cynical expertise in human psychology, Baumann has never failed to get a mark to sign on the dotted line. Until now.

Unable to score a payday from a wealthy, uninsured co-founder of this brave new world, Baumann returns to his overlords empty-handed and finds himself demoted and dejected. Desperate, Baumann will do anything to get back into his employer’s good graces, and to the privileged lifestyle to which he was accustomed. His savvy superiors exploit this desire and give him a secret mission: Commingle with the fringes of society and infiltrate the resistance movement determined to dismantle the corporation.

When Baumann meets activist Lisa Sokulowa (Lena Lauzemis), he’s slowly compelled to rethink his stance on humanity. Meanwhile, his higher-ups urge him to entrap Lisa to earn back his place in the pernicious pecking order, while Lisa must leverage his position to take down the system he works for.

With shades of Lynch, Dark City, and Carre blanc, Valentin Hitz deftly weaves a sardonic cautionary tale of death and indentured servitude, through the conduit of an uneasy romance between corporate cog and rebel.

-Nicole McControversy


Preceded by:



Gleb Osatinski | USA | 11 min

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