Ulrich Seidl followed his Paradise trilogy with a documentary on Austrian basements as places to hide one’s true self from the world.
When filmmaker Ulrich Seidl researched Austrian homes for In the Basement, he realised that the living room was often only for show, and the people indulged their passions in the basement, far from public scrutiny. A man who wanted to be an opera singer now operates a basement shooting gallery. A young woman changes jobs, from supermarket cashier to porn actress. A married man receives guests in his basement. The rooms, filled with Nazi memorabilia, are particularly homey. A woman masochist allows herself to be whipped in the basement. A married couple went hunting in Africa on vacation. The stuffed heads of the animals they have bagged adorn their basement walls. A woman and her spouse live in a sadomasochistic relationship.
»Austrians often spend their free time in their basement. /.../ Down there, they can indulge their needs, hobbies, passions and obsessions. The basement is a locus of free time and the private. But for many people the basement is also a place of the unconscious, a place of darkness and a place of fear. For some people that grows out of personal experience, for others a childhood memory. In fact, the basement was and is a place of hiding, a place of secret crime, a place of abuse and rape, a place of captivity, torture and violence.«
- Ulrich Seidl
Born in 1952, in Vienna, Seidl has made numerous award-winning films and is considered to be one of the foremost European directors. Seidl’s films, such as Animal Love, Dog Days and Import/Export, are strongly marked by his signature blend of humour and incisive social commentary. In 2003, he founded the Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion, which also produced his resoundingly successful Paradise trilogy.