Not rated. Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.
The distributor of Marie Kreutzer’s The Ground Beneath My Feet describes it as “reminiscent of” Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, which is true insofar as they’re both psychological thrillers with icy blonde protagonists who gradually lose their minds. But where Polanski’s thesis boiled down to “Women, right?”, Kreutzer paints a more nuanced portrait of the dehumanizing effects of the aesthetically-sterile, male-dominated business world. Lola (Valerie Pachner) is a Type-A executive in Vienna who maintains her eminence front by keeping secrets, such as the fact that she’s having an affair with her boss Elise (Mavie Hörbiger), or that Lola’s older sister Conny (Pia Hierzegger) has paranoid schizophrenia. Already navigating a world full of men who expect moral dessert for pointing out they chose not to be creepy, Lola’s own grip on reality begins to falter when Conny attempts to kill herself during the dreariest part of Germany’s dreary season, then begins calling Lola at all hours. If Conny represents the messiness of being human, Lola represents how much messier things can get when that humanity is sublimated. Kreutzer makes this explicit with a sign outside the office gym where Lola is constantly doing cardio which quotes the best track from Radiohead’s 1998 OK Computer: “Fitter. Happier. More Productive.” The ground beneath our feet has been shifting for decades.