Film: Die Schneider Krankheit

This 2008 film was written, produced and directed by Javier Chillon of Madrid, Spain.  The director of photography was Luis Fuentes.  Artistic direction by Ángel Boyano.  In the fifties, a Soviet cosmonaut chimpanzee crash-lands in West Germany.  Within weeks, a deadly virus has spread across the country and confounds all the scientific experts.  The film is composed of entirely original footage made to look like a fifties documentary or newsreel.  The very first shots with the camera tilting down through the trees to show us the crash site at long range is a nearly prefect rendition of old documentary style right down to how the camera would move.  You have to really know what you are doing to come up with shots like that.  Very fine work.

This is science fiction that is a deadly accurate portrayal of the calm, governmental, ponderous yet urgent, carefully-framed and full-of-import quality found in mid-century documentary films.  The humor is sly and builds its effect gradually.  It’s also somewhat frightening.

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