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North American Premiere
  • Germany
  • 2014
  • 94 mins
  • DCP
  • German
  • English (subtitles)
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Official Selection, Berlin Film Festival 2014
Official Selection, Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival 2014

“Stylish, violent and cerebral” - Boyd van Hoeij, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Muscle-bound with haunted, angry eyes, Eric is an intimidating individual. One could easily imagine him hurting a great deal of people, but the reality couldn’t be more different. Eric is a gentle giant who runs a motorbike workshop and is very happy leading a calm, quiet life with his girlfriend and her young daughter. The seams of his happiness start to crack when a mysterious stranger begins stalking him, appearing almost anywhere he goes. A hardcore assortment of thugs begin to show up at his workplace, claiming to know him as a very different kind of man, threatening the well-being of his loved ones if he doesn’t become a member of their criminal crew. Eric may be experiencing problems with his memory. His past is hazy to him. He has no idea what’s going on, but he feels trapped and very afraid for the people he cares about. As his panic escalates, his rage grows with it. Into something uncontrollable. Unthinkable.

After winning the Max-Ophüls Award with his acclaimed feature debut GRAVITY (no relation to the Cuarón blockbuster which shares its name), Berlin-based writer/director Maximilian Erlenwein became such a hot talent to watch on Germany’s cinema landscape that he was able to secure some of the country’s top talent for STEREO. Reteaming with Erlenwein, Jürgen Vogel (THE WAVE, THE FREE WILL, GOODBYE LENIN!) is a caustic yet thoughtful presence, brought vividly to life with a complex anger that evokes a disturbing sense of damnation. Moritz Bleibtreu (SOUL KITCHEN, THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX, THE ELEMENTARY PARTICLES) is a fantastic counterbalance to Vogel’s intensity, a weirdly laid-back and humourous contrast device that drives the film’s foundation of personal apocalypse home like a tetanus-caked coffin nail. Rounding out a wholly extraordinary cast are Petra Schmidt-Schaller (A HERO’S WELCOME), Georg Friedrich (THE PIANO TEACHER, FAUST) and Rainer Bock (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, THE WHITE RIBBON). Erlenwein’s direction buzzes with brilliance and invention. He shifts between classical cinema language and a radical aesthetic replete with awe-striking visual and aural experimentation as his intimate dramatic crime thriller gradually distorts into an absolute monster that plays with the assaulting ferocity of a Nicolas Winding Refn film on crystal meth. STEREO is a sophomore film that positively shreds, with a poignantly frightening anti-hero/hero trembling at its core. One who can save himself from his past about as well as he can hide from his instincts.

— Mitch Davis