Ludwig Wüst tackles with the much-debated sisterhood between theatre and cinema in a 60-minutes film that would have made Ingmar Bergman proud. Shot in one single take with no cuts, Tape End is a play within a film. Or the other way around. Where is the line between the two arts? As the main character’s past and present attack eachother in the same room, the question gravitates around Wüst’s second feature.
A theatre director (Nenad Šmigoc) is preparing a casting at his place, but the actress he is waiting for happens to be an ex girlfriend, Franziska (Suse Lichtenberger). Before we get to see a glipse of his present personal life – that being a wife and a daughter – his lightheaded attitude towards relationships clashes with Franziska’s painful memories. As the text is being read and the distance between the two gets smaller and smaller, Tape End becomes a power play of words, sex and manipulation.
The camera itself plays a part in the narrative, as the characters are fully aware of it. The protagonist only appears in the film after pressing the ’REC’ button himself. Director Wüst was not present at the shooting, allowing actors to improvise according to his vague guidelines. Given the unchangeable camera angle, what we don’t see matters a lot: off-screen sound not only plays with our expectations, but also with the man’s nerves, in this minimalistic drama that relies entirely on powerful performances.
The first half of the film drags on with a completely anti-cinematic dialogue, but, as the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait. Wüst’s chamber piece escalates with tension and turns out to be an exercise of dramatic creativity, proving that so much can be done with so little means: one camera, four people in one room and a few seconds of sound effects.