Aufdruck (stylized AUFDRUCK or LABEL) is a short film from independent filmmaker Jaschar L Marktanner. It is a film shot in elegant black and white that features a plunking piano score, a score which plods along with the conversation of two women (Mary Krasnoperova and Kira Mathis) at a restaurant.
At first glance, the film appears to be a monotonous pitter patter between two complaining millennials. Indeed, a motif of calling things “sons of bitches” is predominant throughout the four minute film. The women believe to be living in a “society of sons of bitches.”
The complaints of the two women, however, are comically arbitrary. They want longer cigarettes and larger coffee cups, both of which are available to them somewhere in the world, yet they remain seated as if there is no solution.
This is the conceit of the film: addressing what is problematic is not a step toward solution, but instead a lateral step toward further dissatisfaction. The women’s complaints are ironic in their arbitration, even as they break the fourth wall to address the audience.
In this way, the short appears to be more akin to the vignettes from Coffee and Cigarettes than a soapbox to rant about problems. The characters are meditative about subjects that warrant no meditation. The entire short, in this way, is an experiment in irony.
Some of the line deliveries from the actors appear forced or overdramatic, but that only serves to highlight the absurdity of the conversation’s subject matter. Just as the characters assume the world is made up of pawns, they themselves appear to be mere pawns in the film they are a part of.
The short is bookended by epigraph cards. The first, a quote from Heimito von Doderer, is highly pertinent to the content of the short: “In a good conversation the pauses are as important as the talking itself.” The pauses in the short are of equal importance to the dialogue, as they emphasize the comedy of the scene.
The second is a quote from German rapper Bass Sultan Hengzt. It is pertinent in its use of terms used in the film, “freak” and “son of a bitch,” but I feel it is an unnecessary addition. The short scene that follows, too, feels out of place, the comedic tone in stark contrast to the rest of the short.
On the whole, Aufdruck succeeds in its comedic efforts. Its use of irony is spot on, and the simplicity of the production and the script allow for this irony to sit unobstructed at center stage.
As always, thanks for reading!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)