Susanne Wolff, Gedion Wekesa Oduor
From its opening scenes, German-Austrian drama Styx captivates the viewer with an overarching tension. An unusual and provocative allegory of personal responsibility in the face of the migrant crisis that received glowing reviews from audiences at the Berlin and BFI London Film Festivals, we’re delighted to include it in our Spring Screening Days line-up.
Emergency doctor Rieke (Susanne Wolff) embodies a Western ideal of happiness and success. On holiday, she attempts to fulfil a long-held dream by sailing alone from Gibraltar to Ascension Island in the Atlantic. But her trip drastically changes course when she encounters a damaged boat overloaded with desperate of refugees. Stricken by their plight, she tries her best to help them, but as time goes by and the situation worsens, she is forced to make a life or death decision.
The film’s immersive sound design and an atmosphere of mounting dread places the audience alongside Rieke at the centre of the action, with DP Benedict Beuenfel’s precise photography imbuing even the vast ocean with a sense of claustrophobia. Bolstered by director Wolfgang Fischer’s crisp filmmaking and encompassing themes of racism and empathy, western privilege and moral responsibility, Styx is one of this year’s most provocative and gripping dramas and sure to generate substantial press on its release.