The film, if anything is educational. Unlike the clichéd view of what we see of BDSM in mainstream films, 24/7 delves into what actually the participants aim to achieve, which by the look of things is a lot more than the end orgasm. To say the film is not easy viewing is an understatement - it is not particularly pleasant to watch or hear what the film is trying to say. Some of the arguments made are provocative, incendiary even. But then again, at least readers of this blog know that films or any art needn't necessarily have to be pleasant. The best way to approach it is to see this as another interesting view-point, whether or not we agree with what Mr. Reber has to say.
As in many of his films, he uses a mouthpiece, here in the form of dominatrix Lady Maria to air his views, most of which are philosophical - strongly nihilistic, with echoes of not only Nietzche, but some pre-biblical ideas too. Having watched this very involving film only recently, I'm still not sure whether this should have been made as a feature film, or published as an academic work - there's simply too much in it. One has to set aside time, both to watch the film, and later to digest it. It is nevertheless a bold experiment, one that can only be made by self-financed film companies like WTP International. Thank 'God' for independent cinema - Amen..! ;-)
I will keep it to a minimum as it is not so relevant for this film. Reber uses two distinct characters to play out his theories - one is heiress to a luxury hotel Eva, and the other is Magdalena, a sociologist pursuing her doctorate by working as dominatrix Lady Maria. When Eva admits to being sexually unfulfilled, Magdalena encourages her to explore her sexuality first and find out what she really wants. She advises that if sexual fulfilment is her main problem, her starting point should not be S&M but a swingers club. Eva's journey of discovery takes her full-circle before Magdalena (as Lady Maria) espouses what she sees as the true meaning of existence and identity - that one must create oneself anew, by being the father and mother of their own self.
Technically, I think the film is well done, but I couldn't help feeling that it tends to occasionally over-emphasise the obvious (both in terms of screenplay and editing). However, what stands out is the performance of the actress playing Eva, Marina Anna Eich, with her 'Alice in Wonderland' like curiosity as she savours every sensation and situation she comes across enthusiastically. Ms. Eich also appears in some explicit sex scenes, and I can confirm that none of these use body-double (also read her exclusive interview). Wolfgang Edelmayer's sound track is appealing and greatly helps the film narrative. As with all of Reber's films, many in the cast double up as crew as well, with Mira Gittner as Director of Photography and Editor, and Marina Anna Eich and Patricia Koch as co-producers.
The DVD includes some great extras like the short film, "Dann nenn es halt Liebe", a TV feature, and audience interaction with Mr. Reber and Ms. Eich during its festival premiere. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, something challenging, 24/7 is definitely Recommended Viewing.
The film can be purchased from Amazon.de*.
Compilation 1: Marina Anna Eich
These scenes are predominantly of Eva exploring her sexuality.
- A strip contest in the swingers club Eva starts frequenting. She joins in the fun too. Curious Eva is played by the beautiful, voluptuous and very feminine Marina Anna Eich. The contestant in white panties is Claire Plaut. All the swinging scenes were filmed in an actual swingers club, and it's owner also appears as an important character in the film, Mike who befriends Eva.
- Mike suggests to Eva that one of the reasons for her not winning the contest might be her pubic hair, and offers to trim it - which leads into this graphic but stylised sex scene. I've edited some parts of it so that we could focus on the lovely Ms. Eich.
- A nice scene of Eva and Mike frolicking in the woods.
- When Eva tells Mike her sexual fantasy is to have sex with several partners simultaneously, free from the need to feel or be loved, he offers to be her sexual 'travel guide', and initiates her to swinging. But the moment he notices a third person touching her privates, he pushes the men away. When Eva asks him why he ended it so abruptly, he suggests one should be careful and gentle, to which Eva replies that she had been that all her life, and is now in need of excitement.
- Mike arranges another swinging session, and one can clearly see that he had begun to fall in love with Eva. This scene is also inter-cut with happenings in dominatrix Lady Maria's den, where one of her guests is treating himself to a 'wine' enema (thankfully not explicit).
- A disgusted Eva breaks up with Mike, and decides to seek excitement on her own - by working as a dancer at a strip-bar.
- Strip dance no: 2 - Mike comes to see her perform. He couldn't bear to watch other men ogle at Eva, and leaves. There's another inter-cut with goings on in Lady Maria's, where a guest bears his 'cross' - to be later stripped and 'crucified' by Lady Maria.
- Lady Maria had been instrumental in opening Eva to a new world. She visits the strip-bar and books Eva for a private dance, during which she asks Eva what she'd achieved so far. Eva tells her she doesn't know if there indeed is a goal, but that she's only sure she wouldn't want to go back to the 'gilded cage' she used to live in.
- Interesting symbolism in the end scene of the film where Eva is 're-born'.
Compilation 2: Mira Gittner, Claire Plaut, Marina Anna Eich, Patricia Koch, and others
- Magdalena, as Lady Maria the dominatrix soothing one of her guests after punishing him earlier. Lady Maria is played by Mira Gittner.
- Eva's first trip to a swingers club - she and her male companion are shown the facilities. The guy who accompanied her is not interested and decides to chill in the pool, but once an interested lady joins him, he gives her the slip. The lady is played by Claire Plaut.
- No nudity but funny scene - Eva introduces Magdalena (Lady Maria) to her father as a sociologist friend at a family dinner. The father, impressed by Magdalena's expansive knowledge, tells Eva, "...you can learn a lot from her". She smiles and replies, "That's what I do, Dad"!
- Lady Maria uses Eva for one of her sessions with the guy who thinks he's Jesus, ridden with guilt - she taunts while 'forcing him' to partake in two sins.
- Pole dance-strip by Stephanie, played by sexy thing Patricia Koch. I seldom enjoy watching strip/pole dances - they just don't do it for me - but even I was impressed. Ms. Koch is also a fine-art photographer, and one of the film's producers and long-standing members of the WTP team - she sure looks a pleasure to work with..!