Is it ethical to make such a “Transfer” (2010.) ?

While looking for SF movies on “Netflix” I found “The Transfer”, European production that seem to have interesting plot so I gave it a chance. I was surprised by the quality of the movie since it has only 6.8 rating on the IMDB. Furthermore, I was surprised by the fact that the director of the movie is for me the unknown Croatian Damir Lukacevic. I’ve never heard for the director and I thought that, being Croatian, I know all that is to know about Croatian cinematography.

 Croatians, however, don’t make SF stories, so this is not Croatian movie. It’s German, or should I say German-French production. That can be seen in the cinematic approach, camera movement and editorial solutions. Movie can, by the average viewer be perceived as complicated or even a bit slow but it’s really worth of the invested time. Being a fan of SF stories myself I couldn’t avoid the connections to “Gattaca”, “Matrix”, “Avalon” or “Surrogates” by reading the description on “Netflix”. What caught me by surprise is storytelling that really refuses to be compared to anything and stands on its own as the pinnacle of the movie.

“Transfer” is the story about the elderly German couple who decides to undertake morally dubious procedure of body exchange with a young African couple. What Lukacevic did here, as a director and as a writer, is extraordinary. By transferring conciseness into the bodies of the two black Africans he opened the door to the possibility of social criticism, black and white racism, exploitation of the poor, despair and depression, ethical dilemma and corporation critique. What’s astounding, he did it well.

When the exchange is completed we realize that original hosts are only suppressed and as most of the time the new bodies are used by the clients, 4 hours a day they belong to the original hosts. “Matrix” connections are evident. Although, influences can be found in mentioned movies and in Japanese anime, Lukacevic here did something so European which gave this movie its special and unique flavor. Polygon of cultural differences here is fully exploited and while the story goes on we are witnesses of the prejudice and changes of heart by all four main characters. European need for the uprising and questioning values is in the current economic and political state of European Union is emphasized, and Lukacevic here envisioned one bleak future in which sincerely I would rather not participate.

In such a future, what does it mean to give birth? Who would be the parents? One or the other set of “users”?  On which values will the child be raised? Whose physical and psychological characteristics will the child have? Moral and ethical dilemmas are pulling us into the picture and we can feel the grasp. In such a future, is there even a possibility of freedom?

I haven’t seen such good and controversial SF in a long time. Only downside of the movie is acting performance of the B.J. Britt who is unconvincing in his role of the male African in the surrogate couple. Everything else in the movie deserves a higher rating than it has on the IMDB.

 

Rating: 8 – 10

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