Slumming | Chicago Reader

Slumming

Sebastian and Alex are two smarmy upper-middle-class jerks who enjoy “slumming”: mocking and playing practical jokes on people they find in lower-class Viennese hangouts. Pia is a serious-minded primary school teacher who finds Sebastian online. Kallmann is a middle-aged failed poet and abusive drunk—repulsive, borderline schizophrenic, yet strangely lovable. For a lark, the jerks kidnap Kallmann, who's passed out on a bench, and deposit him unconscious in a Czech border town. Darkly humorous, with a black, Mitteleuropa edge and dialogue that comes screwball-comedy fast, the film combines an edgy class consciousness with a propulsive narrative and quiet touches of fancy (Bambi, floating gnomes, a Javanese chorus line), and the spare, elegant photography gives the characters space to come to life. Austrian dystopic realism has never been this fun. Michael Glawogger directed. In German with subtitles. 100 min.

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