Lys – Siff 2011 Movie Review

Lys [ Germany (German), 2010, 52 minutes ]
Director: Krystof Zlatnik
Principal Cast: Hanna Schwamborn, Horst-Günter Marx, Marc Hosemann, Catherine Bode Ecki Hoffmann
See it: June 10, 11 at SIFF

See also this alternate review.

The TERRA-Power Plant is offered as the answer to the world’s ever growing hunger for electricity. The plant taps into the raw energy of life (Anima) and can give unending power without negative repercussions, or so it was thought. An incident happens causing the plant to become unstable; in the reactor room they find Lys, a 15 year old girl who was coincidently born the same day the scientific discovery concerning Anima was made. Lys discovers that she is able to manipulate the Anima and the scientists in charge of the reactor hope that she can help stabilize the reactor before it destroys the city. Larger forces prove to be at work and Lys may have other objectives.

Lys is a 52 minute “feature” trying to bestow a cautionary tale that mankind’s manipulation of the world will ultimately destroy our harmony with nature. The overall story of a young girl who can manipulate Anima (heal, kill, stun, etc) was rather intriguing, but its implementation was scattered and not cohesive. The film starts (not far from today) in a post apocalyptic Berlin suburb where a man with a gun has tied up the lead scientist for the project and is demanding the truth of the devastation be told to his camera. The scientist claims no one will believe him and then tells the story of Lys. The viewer is then transported to “today” where the events unfold chronologically. The viewer is periodically flashed to the future gunman, but these sequences were rather distracting to the overall story and didn’t really advance anything that couldn’t have been done linearly. There is very little character growth, and the interactions between Lys and the scientists / thugs at the TERRA-plant aren’t believable at all.

Overall Enjoyment: B
Despite the shortfalls, I appreciate the overall story concept. I would like to have seen more character growth surrounding Lys’s powers and her objectives at the TERRA-plant. The bad guys were never developed to the extent they should have been. The whole villain side of the story is lost. With a bit of polishing and an additional 30 minutes, the film could be REALLY GOOD!

Siff Provided Synopsis
Following a massive blackout, 15-year-old Lys Marjan is found inside the core of the TERRA-Power Plant, a new reactor able to provide clean, emission-free electricity by drawing upon the Earth’s Anima energy. Unable to remember how she got there, Lys returns home with her parents, while scientist Karl Bardel, the chief architect behind the reactor, investigates the possible connection between her and the incident. At home, Lys is plagued by recurring dreams urging her to return to the reactor. Meanwhile, in her absence, further strange occurrences plague the reactor, as the Anima energy grows unstable. It soon becomes clear that Lys possesses a special affinity for Anima, one Bardel hopes will be able to stabilize the reactor before it reaches critical mass. With the mainstream rise of environmentalism, the emerging sub-genre of ecological science fiction adds a relevant, frighteningly possible aspect to the traditional apocalyptic narrative. In his debut feature, director Krystof Zlatnik crafts an exquisite cautionary parable in which even the greenest technologies may have disastrous unintended consequences.


Provided Film Synopsis

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