Opening 20 Aug 2015
A man, name unimportant, drives through the Mojave Desert in California. Here, single-family houses stand empty, all abandoned after the last serious real estate crisis in 2000. Still, someone must check on the empty houses. This man’s main job is to inspect the swimming pools and eliminate any sign of mosquitos, which could multiply and cause a serious epidemic. Throughout the film he meets up with alternative ways of life by talking with other single people who are checking their houses or just wandering around. He confronts his own loneliness and misses his ex-girlfriend Chelsea. Evenings he sits in motels and calls up telephone crisis lines to share his depression.
This is a documentary in that California City actually was intended to be the largest city in California. Now it is a modern ghost town. It is fiction in that some of the scenes are “played,” although, they are so logical that they could be real. German director Bastian Günther wishes to show the effects of “loss, emptiness, and crisis.” He says, “Anyone who has been in California City realizes that the term “depression” is not only a medical condition, but can be used to describe the economy. California City is a perfect allegory for this feeling of inner nothingness.” Günther was born and raised in Germany and studied film in Berlin. He divides his time between residencies in Berlin and Austin, Texas. (Becky Tan)