THE BUNKER”— Home Schooling

der bunker poster

“The Bunker”

Home Schooling

Amos Lassen

A nameless young student (Pit Bukowski) seeks quiet and solitude to focus on an important project ends up as the teacher of a peculiar boy who is home-schooled by his parents in an isolated bunker mansion. “The Bunker” is a dark, twisted, and funny tale about childhood, growing up and education.

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A serious university student rents a windowless concrete room in an underground bunker to work on his research and discovers that the family from whom he rents the room wants him to home-school their son. Nikias Chryssos brings us a weird and funny movie filled with absurdities. We are never quite sure what is going on in the family’s home, where an unnamed father (David Scheller) and mother (Oona von Maydell) live with their overgrown man-child Klaus (Daniel Fripan), but something’s definitely not right. When a nameless student answers the family’s ad for a room to rent moves in, he soon finds himself tutoring young Klaus, who is being groomed for great things by his parents even though he has obvious mental shortcomings. The student also begins an affair with the mother who still wants to breast feed her adult son. The mother also has a talking scar on her leg that she claims is really an alien intelligence.

The setting is claustrophobic and this along with the small cast of just four people is at times uncomfortable for the viewer. The film seems to be mainly concerned with the unrealistic expectations parents can place on their children, the lengths they will go to in order to get them closer to achieving those goals, and the often unhealthy desire to keep seeing their offspring as children even when they become adults and should be breaking away on their own.

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The movie is twisted, trashy and a lot of fun. I suppose we can say that it is a dark fairy tale with a tablespoon of sci-fi, and a dash of camp. The son thinks that he is being groomed for the American presidency even though he will always be eight-years-old in the mind of his parents.

When the student arrived at the place where he rented a room, he finds that it is a bunker and that the ;lake-view that was advertised is non-existent. In fact any view is non-existent since the bunker is underground. The family that lives there is an odd bunch to say the least. This becomes clear when student is forced to take over the home schooling of Klaus at the insistence of Heinrich, the opinionated alien overlord who lives inside mom’s voluptuously swollen leg.

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Even as the film moves from one surprise to the next, director Chryssos has steady command of everything. Even though the film is totally unrealistic, it has something to say about the dangers of burdening a child with unrealistic expectations, such as the parents’ insistence on Klaus’s preparation for his future in the White House (the fact he’s a German citizen is the least of this kid’s problems, as Klaus can’t even remember the capitals of Belgium and France). Everyone keeps pretending that 30-year-old-looking Klaus is a preteen whose mother still needs to breastfeed might at first register as simply another absurd occurrence, though it is actually the idea that the parents don’t want their baby to grow up because that would mean that he’d leave them to their own lives and without a common project, an idea that plays right into the film’s perfect ending.

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