In recent years, filmmaker Lukas Valenta Rinner drily concludes, unease in the media concerning the impending end of the world has gradually increased – due perhaps in part to the devastating consequences of worldwide capitalism. At the same time, the ‘end of days’ itself has become a saleable commodity – for example, in many apocalyptic Hollywood films. Therefore, Rinner continues, it should not be difficult to come up with a tourism opportunity in which people prepare themselves for the apocalypse in a natural environment, in fact then escaping from the demoralising routine of big city life.
In his fiction debut, the Austrian director, who trained and lives in Argentina, sends a colourful group of middle-class Buenos Aires residents on a kind of boot camp in a resort in the nearby Tigre delta, where under the threat of the end of the world they become distanced from their humanitarian ideas and transform from citizens into predatory beasts.
Rinner shows this in controlled, beautifully framed scenes in a style that could be called Austrian – whereby the ironic, at times cruel, desperate tone proves highly effective. The title Parabellum refers to ‘preparing for war’ and is also the name of one of the most popular 9mm pistols – the best calibre for ‘individuals’ to defend their complete freedom against interference from others.