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Home Culture ‘Club Zero’: a cold and insipid story about anorexia | Culture

‘Club Zero’: a cold and insipid story about anorexia | Culture

by News Room
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With a tone of surreal black comedy that never quite gels, the Austrian Jessica Hausner proposes in Club Zero a moral tale Pied Piper of Hamelin on eating disorders in adolescents. The plot is set in a yellow-uniformed private school where a group of schoolchildren from wealthy families sign up for a new activity, a course on “conscious eating” taught by a guru of the ubiquitous well-being trend, what they now call wellnesswhose recipes for “eating well” lead to a path of no return.

It is interesting how Hausner detects both in the habits of some parents and in the educational system itself the underlying errors that lead to the obsessive rejection of food in the adolescents of the story. But Club Zero —although it has the merit of addressing an issue as terrible and complex as anorexia— stagnates in the middle and the idea of ​​a privileged club with sect overtones that brainwashes the youngest with confusing and deceitful slogans, does not quite function, neither as a black comedy, nor as an educational dystopia, nor as a supposed metaphor for a society that generates this type of pathologies in the name of a pseudoscience that takes personal salvation to the point of meaninglessness.

Mia Wasikowska, in ‘Club Zero’.

In his criticism of the poor digestion of issues such as mindfulness, the salvation of the planet, the care of the body or physical control and discipline, Hausner puts ridiculous aspects in the same bag along with other relevant ones as if they were the same and all this, while presenting his characters as enlightened and sick robots.

The director’s cold gaze is anchored in the use of color, as occurred in her previous films such as Little Joe (2019). An aesthetic that overlaps with an ironic cynicism that for a second is attractive but ends up being boring due to its repetitiveness, as well as being ungenerous with its characters. Without leaving the loop of those very common slogans (obsession with ingredients, nutritional purity added to the cult of the body…), the film becomes mechanical and orthopedic; a cold nightmare. Hausner focuses on the teacher-guru but ends up ignoring this central character to turn her into the same caricature as his faithful students. In the end, Club Zero It turns out to be an overstretched piece of gum that turns its message into a tasteless and confusing concoction.

Club Zero

Address: Jessica Hausner.

Interpreters: Mia Wasikowska, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Elsa Zylberstein, Mathieu Demy, Amir El-Masry.

Gender: tragicomedy. Austria, 2023.

Duration: 110 minutes.

Premiere: March 22.

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