Previously at the ICA - Films
7 Oct 2017
BFI Film Festival: 243 features. 67 countries. 15 cinemas. 12 days. One Festival.
Ruth Mader’s fascinating, restrained dystopian drama envisages a society where everyone is happy and fulfilled – just as long as they follow the rules. In the near-future, a state of perfect capitalism is sustained by a social class of high achievers. They live cheerfully, their lives the exemplar of exacting efficiency.
When one of them questions his situation, he comes to the attention of Life Guidance, an agency dedicated to the optimisation of humankind. So begins his painful realisation of the dark and perfidious system that supports his kind. But by rebelling against Life Guidance’s advice, he risks everything.
At a time when our lives become more and more transparent and accessible, Mader (last at LFF2012 with What Is Love) challenges the notion of universal surveillance. If we’re told how to behave and think, we may lose our individuality. Her film examines our ever-growing desire for self-optimisation and, in doing so, brilliantly blurs the line between reality and fiction.
(Notes by Juliane Grieb)
Life Guidance, dir. Ruth Mader, Austria 2017, 101 mins