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Opening Film

Can we truly ever be free of our past? Is it inevitable for past wrongdoings to hang around like a shadow, even in a person may have changed for the better? Stereo poses the questions of whether a person can be forgiven through penitence, and if that person can step away from his/her pain and mistakes of the past, and seek a new life. Filmmaker Maximilian Erlenwein explains that a painful past, though perhaps it can never be reversed, can grow, through self-reflection and self-awakening. In other words, he is emphasizing that in the face of pain that recalls a similar situation in the past, a person can display the will not to make the same mistake again even if it requires self-sacrifice.
Erik enjoys his peaceful and happy life in the quiet countryside that is until a stranger – whom he cannot decide is real or not – appears at his doorstep. With this intrusion, Erik’s hidden past returns to haunt both him and his girlfriend’s family. Erik is now forced to make a choice between turning away from his past or taking affirmative action to redeem himself from his dark past.
Stereo shifts between present and past, reality and fantasy, as it reinterprets classic genre-conventions. The film freely flows between and expands genre boundaries, as it presents characters following classic gangster-movie traits within a 'family revenge' narrative-structure, while employing the surrealist film techniques of visualizing the main character’s sub-conscious and displaying both shocking action scenes, and duel spaces reminiscent of Hong Kong New Wave films. Through the kind of action, reminiscent of the testosterone-heavy, bloodbath action films from Hong Kong in the 1980s, Stereo shows how self-discovery can be achieved through the disintegration and restoration of an individual, and in this sense, this film is a heartbreaking, and apocalyptic penitence, in which a man desperately fights to escape his unfortunate fate, and seek redemption. Overall, the film calls a dark and depressing note, yet the intermittent usage of lively color tones, flowing camera-work and searing electronic sounds, combine soundly: fully accosting the viewers' every sense