Opening 3 May 2018
"HERRliche Zeiten" translates to "magnificent times"; upper case cleverly highlights the part of the German word for "master". This satire was inspired by Thor Kunkel's novel Subs and evolves around a well-to-do couple, Evi (Katja Riemann), a landscape designer, and Claus (Oliver Masucci), a plastic surgeon. Their housekeeper unexpectedly quits, and they can barely cope picking up after themselves. Claus thinks himself funny and smart (and probably politically correct) when he places an ad headlined "Looking for slave (m/f)". It results in applicants cueing up in front of their bungalow offering themselves as sex-slaves. When told the ad wasn't meant that way, the complaining is anything but docile. Just when the couple resigned to not hiring any help, a rather mysterious Mr. Bartos (Samuel Finzi) begs to be hired. He even offers his plus his wife's (Lize Feryn) services for a free trial time. Who could resist?? He is polite, educated, and attentive and will turn their home into a first-class wellness oasis. Reluctantly only at first, Evi and Claus are getting used to being spoiled.
This is a sarcastic view of society's increasing divide into have and have-nots, and the excuses we use to justify it. Bartos keeps putting the couple's moral core to the test, each time setting the bar a little higher —or lower for that matter. While we are wondering how far this might be taken, the question of what's in it for Bartos still lingers. The film "loses steam" towards the end, and the ending felt like letdown. Though, maybe it's just logically consistent! I would have liked it not to dissolve the way it does after all the suspense had been built, but do see for yourself. (Carola A)