Last month, we got a Facebook message from a very brave filmmaker. Jaschar L Marktanner invited us to watch and review his short film, voluntarily facing the wrath of not one but three admitted Assholes. How fun it would be to pan AUFDRUCK (LABEL in English), from a writer-director so boldly putting themself in the hot seat.
Imagine my disappointment when I actually enjoyed it. LABEL is only four minutes long so a spoiler-free description is a unique challenge for me as a reviewer. I think (and hope) that Jaschar won’t mind me telling you that it’s shot in black and white, which is an excellent choice, partly because it adds to the French New Wave feel. In their first IMDB credits, Kira Mathis and Mary Krasnoperova play two women in a coffee shop describing a mutual acquaintance as a “son of a bitch”. Labelling and complaining with a friend over coffee may seem like a pretty universal experience but it soon becomes clear that these women use the label pretty liberally, as the conversation becomes more and more absurd.
LABEL is funny, gradually upping the ridiculousness as it follows the structure of a really good comedy sketch. Marktanner’s film has more to offer than just laughs though with what I read as an effective critique of modern fatalism. I am happy to report, however, that he has generously given this Asshole one thing to grumble about. Speaking no German, I was forced to watch LABEL with English subtitles which were colour-coded depending on who was speaking. I found the dark red to be difficult to read against the black and white background. Once or twice, I had to pause it to avoid missing a single word. There, I said it.
Overall, LABEL is well worth your time and I am grateful to Jaschar for sharing it with us.