By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act February 2, 2012 at 9:46PM
A German film that I've been talking about since 2010, FINALLY makes its New York City debut (the city I live in); and the 2 days that it's scheduled to screen are both days that I WILL NOT be in New York. Of all the days! Just my luck!
Ah well... I guess it wasn't meant to be. I need to make sure I have someone there to take my place and see the film so that we can FINALLY have a full writeup about it that isn't based mostly on speculation.
I initially profiled the film back in September 2010, when it was selected for Fantastic Fest that year. It's since screened at a number of film festivals across the world, and has long had its theatrical run in its native Germany.
Titled Transfer, German filmmaker Damir Lukacevic is its director; and for those just joining us, here's a recap...
At the Menzana facility, customers with the financial means to do so can sidestep the constraints of this mortal coil by having their consciousness and memories implanted into the minds of young, healthy bodies, primarily those of immigrant Africans and other third world residents who agree to participate in the procedure for the money their families will receive. The film opens with a consultation session for potential clients Herman and Anna (Hans Michael Rehberg and Ingrid Andree), a wealthy German couple entering their twilight years. While both have ethical concerns about the procedure, Herman is deeply worried by his wife’s failing health and both fear the day that death will separate them. Their initial hesitation to the transfer procedure gives way after Anna learns that she has but months to live. She and Herman soon return to Menzana and commit to purchasing the bodies of Apolain and Sarah (B.J. Britt and Regine Nehy), two refugees from Africa who have been specially selected for their compatibility with the body and brain chemistry of the aging couple. Under the conditions of the transfer, Herman and Anna have use of their new bodies for 20 hours a day. When they sleep, their hosts Apolain and Sarah return to consciousness and are able to use their own bodies for a period of four hours.
As I said in my initial post, the ideas here simultaneously intrigue, as well as concern me, having not seen the film!
On one hand, it may provide for an intriguing opportunity to explore race, privilege, class, identity, ethics, the nature of being/consciousness and more, on film, and maybe in ways that we haven't quite seen before; on the other, it could be nothing more than an exploitative (even though well-intended) piece of trash fiction... an experiment gone completely wrong.
But, again, I haven't seen it, so I have no idea on what side of the fence it stands. I'm, at the very least, definitely curious to see it for myself. BUT I won't get the chance! At least not this time around; hence my curiosity will have to remain unsatiated!
I'm not happy about this :)
Also worth recapping... an interesting bit regarding its casting... its 2 black leads are American actors! B.J. Britt and Regine Nehy are their names.
B.J.'s resume includes roles on Lincoln Heights, Everybody Hates Chris, and One Tree Hill; Regine's resume includes roles also in Lincoln Heights, Lakeview Terrace (the Kerry Washington, Samuel L Jackson film produced by Will Smith), Death At A Funeral (Chris Rock's American remake).
So... New Yorkers who've been dying to see this (some of you have asked me about it at least once over the last year), you'll finally get your chance when it'll screen as a 2012 Film Comment Selects selection later this month; first on Friday February 17th at 4pm, and again on Monday February 20th at 4:15pm and 8:45pm.
You get 3 chances, so no excuses; unless you won't be in town like me.
Screenings take place at Film Society's Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
And for those who aren't familiar, Film Comment Selects selections tend to include a nice eclectic international group of genre and non-genre films that you've likely never seen (and may not get a chance to see again anytime soon), so I suggest you take a look at the full list of titles and pick up tickets for those that are of interest to you, because I get the feeling that they'll go fairly quickly.
Tickets are $13 per screening, or you can purchase a 4-film package for $40 (or $10 each).
Go get yours now HERE.
Below you'll find the trailer and poster for Transfer: