By Sascha Krieger
Ich bin dein Mensch (Competition / Germany / Director: Maria Schrader)
Alma is a successful anthropologist who has given up on love and adopted a cynical facade following a traumatic event. She participates as an expert in an experiment to evaluate the ethical aspects of humanoid robots created to become a human’s perfect partner. Maria Schrader’s film is a quite entertaining back and forth as Alma struggles to stay aloof from Tom and not be enticed by his well-programmed affection which, of course, ultimately fails. It is to the film’s credit that it tries to address the wider-reaching ethical and philosophical issues of artificial intelligence and its drive towards becoming ever more human less in a preaching, dictactic way but as a natural part of the plot, of dialogue and interaction, by embedding the theoretical in the situational. It dows so by adopting feature of the romantic comedy, in a very Germany, a little rougher way. The taming of the shrew kind of stereotype isn’t too heavy-handed and the conventional storytelling has a light enough touch. In the end, however, the film opts for the easy way out, the lighter-hearted self-development slash romance angle. The friendly lighting conceals little but hides too much, the softening of the hardened woman cannot quite escape its sexist roots. Thus, the film falls short of the exploration of what it means to be human that it clearly tries to be but provides enough moments of hinting at it in a playful way to make it entertaining and reflective enough to send the viewer on their own train of thoughts – if they choose to embark on the journey.