One late night (well Saturday night/ Sunday morning), I discovered Der Bunker, a 2015 horror comedy film, directed by Nikias Chryssos.
Two parents hire a tutor (who remains unnamed and is only referred to as “The Student”) for their son – Klaus (played by Daniel Fripan) – in order to prepare for a future in the White House (even though they live in Germany….).
As his first feature film, Der Bunker is abstract and unrealistic.
Klaus’ relationship with his mother transforms remarkably throughout the film, making you incredibly uncomfortable and yet simultaneously engaged. While my boyfriend (who was watching it with me) found the whole film disturbing, I on the other hand, was hilariously engaged (Klaus’ bowl hair cut! LOL). At many points during the film, neither of us had much clue what was going on, and yet the narrative keeps you hooked enough to also keep its audience reeled in.
Chryssos uses the character of “The Student” (played by Pit Bukowski) to fantastically create allegorical and moral satire towards the unrealistic expectations parents can have of their children. Klaus is dressed as a boy and claims to be 8 years old – which you could argue that his parents (played by Oona von Maydell and David Scheller) confirm, through the way in which they treat their son as well as the mise-en-scene of Klaus’ room (which is decorated in the style of an 8 year old boy’s room) – however, he is clearly to “The Student” as well as the audience, a fully grown man, whose growth appears to be suppressed by his controlling parents. His mother particularly, is oppressive towards her son, and rewards the achievements he makes in increasingly disturbing ways. And in a house with sexually explicit artefacts everywhere, even Klaus’ punishments carry sexual undertones.
The narrative of the film transposes from comical to dark and sinister, until soon the mental states of all characters involved snap – particularly that of “The Student” – and I wonder if the reason why he sleeps in a bunker is because without realising, when he became the tenant of this secluded and twisted world, he had unknowingly entered into a psychological warzone.
If you’re a fan of disturbingly comical international cinema – like myself – I would definitely recommend that you cosy up for a night with Der Bunker.