Feature film | 48 minutes | Mystery thriller | Koscher/Ladengruber/Passini Production | 2012
Cast: Michael Graf | Anne Mertin | Flo Staffelmayr | Karin Koller
Sound recordist: Dominik Schlager
© Klemens Koscher
It's a harmless book Manuel reads: It's about a mad axe murderer. It's a fictional story – isn't it? The reading captivates him almost hypnotically and he falls more and more into the reality of this story. All of a sudden, absurd images appear to him that are connected to his past. By the time he begins to understand their meaning, it is already too late – the boundaries of reality shift and a nightmare begins that can no longer be stopped.
“The Shapeshifter” is an unconventional, dark mixture of film noir and mystery thriller, which tells the story of a man's struggle against madness in black and white pictures with a pinch of black humor.
Elaborate production and picturesque old town locations characterize this movie, which balances between drama and surrealism, while at the same time uncompromisingly following its own formal language. A delight for film aesthetes and lovers of subtle suspense.
The movie “The Shapeshifter” contains philosophical, human questions, which cause alienation but also astonishment: How is it possible that the nice neighbor next door is supposed to be a cold-blooded murderer; that a person who seems perfectly normal in everyday life is fighting a lonely war against himself; that reality is only such a thin web that threatens to tear apart in some people and makes us look into abysses that we otherwise only know from nightmares?
The protagonist's inner conflict and the state of his soul are made visible through the house and the labyrinthine corridors and rooms of the apartment where most of the movie's action takes place. Unusual angles of the camera, harsh contrasts of the black and white images, the increasing narrowing of the image sizes as well as a spherically oblique and at the same time minimalist soundtrack condense the atmosphere of the film from minute to minute. In this way, the main character's own cramped world, from which he cannot find his way out, is made palpable. Reality and madness approach each other continuously until they can't be kept apart anymore.
Robert Passini, Andreas Ladengruber and Klemens Koscher realized the movie in their own production. They received financial support from the cultural institutions of the city of Vienna, the city of Graz, the Styrian and the Upper Austria governments. The commitment and perseverance of the team of over 60 people made this film possible. The film was shot in Vienna and in Graz from April to November 2009, with audio and video post-production taking place in 2010 and 2011.
Premiere | Burgkino Vienna | 12th April 2012
Graz-Premiere | Film Centre at the Rechbauerkino Graz | 21st April 2012
Cinema Gröbming | Summer 2012
TV channel Austria 9 | 2nd July 2012