Today is a good day to die So are tomorrow and the day after!
"Der Todesking" is not exactly the type of film that makes you merry Jörg Buttgereit's second cult monument in a row, which is actually a lot better than the infamous "Nekromantik", exists of seven short episodes one for each day of the week revolving on unrelated people's suicides. In between these already very disturbing episodes, Buttgereit inserts truly horrifying images of a severely decomposing male corpse. The episodes aren't all equally powerful but, as a wholesome, "Der Todesking" is ranked quite high on the list of all-time most depressing art-house films. Particularly the episodes on Wednesday, involving a man explaining his sexual frustrations to a total stranger in the park, and the one of Sunday, focusing on a younger man molesting himself to dead, are extremely intense and devastating to observe. The added value of this film, or any other shockumenary like it, is debatable and I'm not even sure whether or not Buttgereit had any type of message to communicate here. There's the vague mentioning of an eerie chain letter that encourages its readers to commit suicide but mostly we remain uninformed about these people's motivations to end their lives so dramatically. Entirely unlike I expected, "Der Todesking" isn't exploitative or repulsively graphic! On the contrary actually, I never could have hoped Buttgereit would be so subtle and thoughtful regarding the portrayal of pure human misery. The Thursday episode is a perfect example of this, as it stylishly shows different viewpoints of a famous German bridge while the names, ages and occupations of persons who jumped off appear on the screen. The production values are inescapably poor and the editing often lacks professionalism, but this isn't what really counts in this type of cinema. The subject matter is strong and forcing us to contemplate about the less cheerful but also indispensable aspects of life. GREAT use of tragic music, too!
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