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Release Date:
10 November 2003 (Germany) See more »
A group of fishermen on a precariously balanced platform fight over a trunk. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Won Oscar. Another 4 wins See more »
This Academy Award Winning Short Inspired Cube
 (From QuietEarth. 30 June 2015, 2:04 PM, PDT)

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A Stunning Work from Germany's Communist Collapse See more (22 total) »

Directed by
Christoph Lauenstein 
Wolfgang Lauenstein 

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7 min
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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
A Stunning Work from Germany's Communist Collapse, 9 December 2007
Author: ShortoftheWeek from United States

A platform floats in a neutral space. Strange men, identical except for the numbers on their back, appearing as though out of some dystopian future, must work in concert to prevent the platform from tipping. The emergence of a strange box, a new development in this closed and sterile space, disrupts the tedium but also the teamwork, as each man wants to individually inspect and enjoy the box—threatening them all as the platform becomes increasingly unbalanced.

Add though a context. A time and place to the film's creation. Germany, 1989. The fact that the men are identical but for their numbers, is this not a oft-used symbol for the anonymity desired of those in a Communist society? That they are all the same and thus interchangeable? The cooperation they display at first is perhaps indicative of Socialism, and the box, what is the meaning of the music it plays, the dancing it inspired? Radio Free Europe used to broadcast American music, such as the jazz heard coming out of the box, into Communist countries throughout the Cold War. Perhaps the box is a symbol of possibility, of what is outside the closed system, which inevitably undermines said system.

And so a parable about selfishness becomes an allegory about German society and Soviet Communism at its fall. The sad and ironic ending of Balance, who is at fault? The men that fail to do what is best for them? Or the system that fails to acknowledge this human quality?

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