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The Lobby

GER/Argentina 2020, 76 min

A sardonic distillation of themes revolving around death, consciousness and human relationships. The sequel to DIE LETZTE STADT – morbid, confrontational and hilarious.

Synopsis

“There is no Here here.” A character simply named Old White Male (John Erdman) holds court in the lobbies of various apartment buildings in Buenos Aires and expounds with measured disgust on death, consciousness, and the state of contemporary human relations. The man’s mostly unsolicited remarks form an unsparing, stitched-together modern-day monologue that alternates between absurd and chilling, reasonable and grotesque. Filmed in Buenos Aires in October 2019, Heinz Emigholz’s spare continuation and sardonic distillation of certain themes explored in THE LAST CITY is morbid, confrontational, and hilarious.

Awards and Festivals

- New York Film Festival 2020
- Viennale 2020

Additional Texts

Prologue
by Heinz Emigholz

There are these lobbies in elegant apartment buildings in former rich cities like Buenos Aires. They host mirrors, seatings, lamps and walls made out of precious materials, wood, marble, glass and metal, and sometimes plants and bouquets of flowers. They represent wealth, order and security, and they are walk-through rooms to the living spaces of the people or to the streets. Every now and then they are waiting areas, too. Someone sits there and waits – for better weather, for a friend or for relatives, or he sits there from morning to night, just for good. 

Catalogue-text from New York Film Festival 2020

“There is no Here here.” A character simply named Old White Male (John Erdman) holds court in the lobbies of various apartment buildings in Buenos Aires and expounds with measured disgust on death, consciousness, and the state of contemporary human relations. The man’s mostly unsolicited remarks form an unsparing, stitched-together modern-day monologue that alternates between absurd and chilling, reasonable and grotesque. Filmed in Buenos Aires in October 2019, Heinz Emigholz’s spare continuation and sardonic distillation of certain themes explored in THE LAST CITY is morbid, confrontational, and hilarious.

Neil Young on THE LOBBY

While officially regarded by prolific maestro Heinz Emigholz as a “sequel” to THE LAST CITY – completing a loose trilogy begun with STREETSCAPES [DIALOGUE] – this one-man tour-de-force starring veteran actor John Erdman functions splendidly on its own. Erdman, whose previous work down the decades includes collaborations on seminal dance and performance-art pieces by Yvonne Rainer and Robert Wilson, here incarnates a hyper-articulate character simply credited as “Old White Male.” Our protagonist is presented in comfortable Buenos Aires apartment-building lobbies, holding forth in erudite, sardonic fashion on mortality – and through this dark prism examining the state of humanity. Ranging freely across matters philosophical, theological and psychological, Emigholz stakes out word-centric territory somewhere between Camus’ “The Fall” and Malle’s MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. THE LOBBY is a virtuoso cine-monologue of an indelibly witty and stimulating stripe, self-referential and self-deconstructing. Once again teaming up productively with Jonathan Perel, Emigholz crafts an elegant frame for a sardonic, occasionally poetic exploration of fundamental ideas.

Video Extra

On The Lobby, Buenos Aires, and Architecture | NYFF58
Director Heinz Emigholz discusses The Lobby with NYFF Director of Programming Dennis Lim.

NYFF58 Talk: Christian Petzold & Heinz Emigholz
about their formative experiences of cinema, how the themes of architecture, history, and capitalism figure in their work, and what they love and hate in film culture right now. Moderated by NYFF Director of Programming Dennis Lim.

Credits

Director and Screenplay
Heinz Emigholz
With
John Erdman
Director of Photography
Heinz Emigholz, Jonathan Perel
Editor 
Till Beckmann, Heinz Emigholz
General Assistance
Ivan Murgic
Original Sound and Location Management  
Esteban Bellotto
Sound Design und Mixing  
Christian Obermaier, Jochen Jezussek
Post Production
Till Beckmann
Produced by
Jonathan Perel, PYM Films

Distribution Details

Distribution only to international festivals (no cinema distribution)

Screening Format
DCP (25 fps, 5.1)
Aspect Ratio
1.178:1 (16:9)