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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.14.10] Germany movie review scifi drama

Year: 2010
Director: Damir Lukacevic
Writers: Elia Barceló, Gabi Blauert, Damir Lukacevic
IMDB: link
Trailer: NA
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 8 out of 10

[Editor's Note: Also be sure to read rochefort's review of the film from Fantastic Fest.]

Based on a story from award winning sci-fi author Elia Barceló, Transfer is director Damir Lukacevic’s first foray into the world of genre film making but aside from a few scenes peppered through out the film and the general concept, this isn’t so much a sci-fi film as a drama of what makes people individuals and a film which forces us to question the morality and benefits of the use of certain technologies.

Taking place in the near future, Lukacevic’s film works off of the concept that advances in technology have rendered death unnecessary. For those few rich enough to afford it (and willing), there’s an option to have their conscious transferred but not to a machine or a robot but into another human being. For 20 hours a day, the very ill Anna and her husband Hermann, will be transferred into the rented bodies of Sarah and Apolain, perfect physical specimens in their 20s who have been plucked from third world countries and given the chance to better their lives and those of their families by essentially becoming slaves who are only “themselves” for 4 hours of the day. Obviously, this causes some problems.

At first Anna is reluctant. She has a hard time believing that this is the right thing to do and is concerned about what this means for her host but with her husband’s support, agrees to take the three month test-drive. From the beginning, the women are much more comfortable communicating with each other and finding a happy medium in their shared body but Apolain immediately dislikes Hermann and starts to look for a way out of the contract he *cough* willingly *cough* signed. What follows are a series of struggles between the two couples as they fight within themselves for control over the bodies they share and well as with each other.

As good stories go, the drama here isn’t insular and Lukacevic takes advantage of the story to explore all sorts of nooks and crannies about humanity, individualism, slavery, the moral use of technology as well as issues of racism and ageism. And that’s just on the surface! Floating around in the ether of further observation are also concerns about the future of civilization when the physically fit are farmed for their bodies when the rich require a new physical form. What implications will this have on human development and society?

Transfer is strong in ideas and solid in execution. B.J. Britt and Regine Nehy are very good in their respective roles and carry most of the film, portraying both Apolain and Sarah and the much older, more refined Anna and Hermann. Britt is straddled with most of the showy scenes and he does quite well by them though Nehy’s performance is much more nuanced and intimate, a juxtaposition I thoroughly enjoyed and which brings an interesting dynamic to Apolain and Sarah’s relationship and their eventual decision.

Though it lacks flashy bits of technology and impressive special effects that would make it an instant classic or something to revisit simply for the eye candy, Lukacevic’s Transfer is an excellent slice of “cerebral sci-fi,” one more interested in characters and ideas than in showboating. Meet the new Gattaca.

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Ben Austwick (11 years ago) Reply

Great film eh Marina? I was going to say something about Gattaca as well

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