I'm still relatively new to short films, and I'm amazed at how such a small, short story can excite and fascinate me. This film had me stare at the screen in horror, sitting on the edge of my seat. I must congratulate this film on having had such an excellent effect on me.
Eau de la Vie takes us to a world where the gap between rich and poor is huge and - at least in the eyes of the truly decadent elite - a (poor) life isn't worth anything. In a posh restaurant, a group of people is celebrating a young woman's entering their class. She's treated warmly by all of them - or at least that is the first impression. Then it comes to choosing the "entertainment" for the evening. The choice is left to the heroine, who knows just as little as the audience what this is supposed to mean. She is to select one person out of a group of four intimidated looking people, a middle-aged man and woman, a young, handsome young man and a little girl. She obviously doesn't know what this is about, but quickly picks the young man. As he is then stripped of his clothes and locked into a glass tank, and as the tank slowly fills with water, it finally becomes clear what the "entertainment" is supposed to be: watching a man drown. The heroine's reaction to this situation was quite terrifying for me to watch, since I almost entirely shared her horror. I could not help but feel relieved in the end, but when I came to think about it later, my initial relief couldn't hold. This solution isn't really one, I fear, and if anything, the other characters' reaction in the very end is in fact utterly, utterly disgusting.
This film is really disturbing. It's a bitterly evil, dark satire of society. I was told after this film that it's been inspired by the political situation in New Zealand at that time. Not knowing anything about New Zealand, I cannot judge whether this is correct, and how appropriate such a grim view is... but who cares? Sadly, this film is always on topic, addressing issues that still exist, and will exist, in many places all over the world.
I recommend this film!
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