Endzeit - Ever After
Made by an almost exclusively female cast and crew, Carolina Hellsgård’s German-Swedish post-apocalyptic thriller Endzeit – Ever After combines subtle social commentary with stunning cinematography for a nifty and restrained riff on zombie movie tropes.
It’s sometime in the future and only two cities on Earth remain following an infection that turns people into undead bundles of rage. The city of Weimar takes a protective, preventative stance, preferring to kill anyone or anything that’s infected or contaminated. In the city of Jurn, people are working on a cure instead of trying to eradicate all that are infected. The cities are connected by an unmanned supply train, a vehicle that the kind, sensible, and sensitive Vivi (Gro Swantje Kohlhof) sees as a means of escaping Weimar’s increading brutality. After stowing away on the train, she recognizes a fellow refugee, Eva (Maja Lehrer), a hardened warrior-type who has been scratched up by one of the infected. Knowing that she’ll be immediately put to death if anyone were to find out, getting to Jurn is Eva’s only hope for survival.
For her second feature, Hellsgård begins by mounting a stripped down, character based version of a post-apocalyptic narrative, content to watch Vivi and Eva’s personalities bounce off each other and making note of how they react, often without needing words at all to express feelings and motivations. Gradually, Hellsgård starts adopting a more metaphysical and feminist tone, and while it all could have gone horribly wrong and turned silly by the film’s conclusion, the approach works thanks to the filmmaker’s well rounded approach. It likely won’t get the pulses of genre junkies racing, but those who prefer their dystopian fiction on the brainer and more feminine side will find plenty to like here.