It does not matter whether the exaggerated characters in Reynold Reynolds' film Six Apartments already were alarmed. With various different neurotic compulsions or addictions – cleanliness, drugs, collecting mania – these outsiders have retreated to their homes where they lead a banal and self-referential life.
A motorcycle freak playing with his exotic pets in a brightly lit room, a hippie-like young woman throwing up into her filthy bathtub in dim light, a fish rotting away on a plate and an ascetic, cleanly woman nibbling on a dried-up roll in her all-white flat. In another scene, she puts a plastic cover onto a bed or manicures her already well-groomed fingernails with a nail file while the scientific-sounding voice on the radio that is talking about humanity's chance of survival no longer reaches her. The news no longer seems to have anything to do with her life.
What does an apartment say about its inhabitants? In the functional rooms of a newly built flat, the rational design of modernism prevails and forces its inhabitants to organise their things. The messy, however, drowns in the collected items; due to the mass of items, it no longer is possible to tell the rooms apart. Manic personal care or absolute neglect of the own body – the displayed lifestyles have turned into extremes and no longer are susceptive to issues of climate policy.
Reynolds has already used the tightness of the home in earlier films to show the psyche in terms of space. Without moral intentions and free of judgements, Reynold Reynolds subsequently shows the stations of living, switches from one living satellite to the next in split-screen mode before a narrative theme even has the chance to develop. With matter-of-fact, distanced horizontal and vertical camera rides and fast motion, he avoids any kind of subjective comment. His film is a kind of presentation of social apathy that would remain invisible otherwise. “Apathy as a form of negation” is what Reynold Reynolds is interested in, not a “lesson” for an over-satisfied society. Thus he chose unspecific media recordings on climate change that provided a tone as airy and easy-going as possible. Figures, statistics and other surveys are not part of the film.
Actually, there only are two possibilities to deal with the topic according to Reynold Reynolds. Either your feel the “necessity to act” or you choose “apathy”. He has exaggerated the apathetic characters – modern society caused them just as it caused climate change.
works as a freelance author and curator in Berlin
Translation: Nicola Mahoney
Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V. 2009