CPH:DOX 2017: THE THIRD OPTION BY THOMAS FÜRHAPTER

This entry was posted on March 16th, 2017

cphdox-2017-The-Third-Option-Stills-360771

By Ivonne Sheen

The Third Option put us in the middle of several ethical questions about the way contemporary societies have figured life, health, and progress. Along the film, there are different voices that guide us through a minimalistic visual essay (echoing Harun Farocki), which take us from personal testimony, to philosophical and scientific thoughts.

The film opens with a strong statement. Ironically, the simplest sentence in the whole movie, “’We screwed until we could screw no more, and in the autumn I became pregnant”, meanwhile we see a playground full of kids. This is the starting point to such a series of questions and dilemmas for human beings. The moment when we begin to be someone, but also could be the moment when we bring someone new to this world. The possibility of a new born life increases its meaning by the images we are able to have before the birth. The parents and doctors can check the normality and imagine the possibilities of this new human being.

The individualistic desire of being happy has to do with our health, average skills, and our descendants. This personal wish has become social, and also political. A sort of hidden Social Darwinism is portrait in the way contemporary societies relate to technology and science in matters of health and progress, but also in the meaning that is given to be a disabled human being in the 21st century.

Thomas Fürhapter confronts us continuously with the way Europe seems to be a pioneer in science, but at the same time the old fashioned, Modern Era’s Ethos, still remains in its ways of giving life a value and a meaning. All the testimonies seem to be the weapon that bring us to earth, to our humanity, takes us far away from all the other voices we listen to, the ones that focus on the scientific process of giving birth and doing or having an abortion. People don’t know what to decide, authorities have the power to make us feel without options, without the skill of taking decisions. Pure Biopolitics. We have to survive in a predesign world for us, in which, being disabled is not acceptable, in which we have a trace for the path we have to follow during our life, a side of religious interests, there’s the inner individualistic need of perfection and empowered survival, a rational way of happiness.

Through a succession of encyclopedic images, we learn about places where these big decisions are taken by normal people. Everything is squared, symmetrically designed, makes us feel in the future, close to the goal of progress. The camera moves, like walking in front of all these sceneries that have a role play in all this debate, like if we, the spectators, become aliens, trying to learn about humans. Nevertheless, the main characters appear undefined, in a big mass of people who are having fun in waterparks. A metaphor of the way this topics are taking into account, based in a picture of a group of homo sapiens or citizens. Their bodies are moved by simulated waves, being pushed by this artificial force that offers a more comfortable and less risky experience of the sea, of nature. We never get the chance to know a face of any of the testimonies. Fürhapter gives us a sober satire of the ridiculous pretension of European authorities to control and protect the life conditions of its people, with the only certainty of its technological and scientific progress.

International Main Competition Dox:Award
Directed by Thomas Fürhapter
Film editor: Dieter Pichler
Producer: Johannes Rosenberger
Camera: Judith Benedikt
Sound:Andreas Hamza
Production Company: Navigator Film
Austria, 2017

More information about this film in CPH:Dox program here