Whiskey, cigars and rich food paired with playing cards. The obvious frame of a stylish and comfortably get-together. However, in this case the attendees do not play for fun and their standing but for their own life.

Gambling is a dangerous game. BREATHE! takes the game to its limit. The film is created by students at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg (who’s also brought us ‘The Beauty‘), Matthias Kreter and Max Breuer. They take us to what seems like a grim future, where players swap fun for life. The only oxygen flows through a breathing mask connected to a little fresh and green tree, kept under a glass dome. Gradually the people suck out the tree to gain its life giving fresh air. In case someone looses a round of gameplay the oxygen gets cut off, forever.

It not only mirrors our society, it´s also a very personal character analysis on egoism

This film was part of a course at our film school where you rather think about “why” and “about what” you make a film than “how to make films”. So we spent a lot of time thinking about our personal interests and what we would like to express. Climate change is certainly the general topic on the surface, but there is a personal take from us we wanted to put into the plot. We came up with these summarising thoughts in our director´s note:

In our film the protagonists feel and see an immediate impact on their actions. Still, the structure of their behaviour doesn’t change. The film shows what happens when resources run out for everyone. It not only mirrors our society, it´s also a very personal character analysis on egoism, compassion and the drive for change.

Poised with an incredibly thoughtful premise, BREATHE! also folds the imagination with its fascinating style and photography. In many ways, it reminds us of Denis Villeneuve’s short film ‘Next Floor‘, with the sombre storyline set in a confined and deteriorating setting surrounded by egocentric upperclass. The soft and dreamlike look was created using a Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro and a Cooke 20-100mm T3.1 lense.

Furthermore we used a 1,2m x 1,2m LED Panel as a toplight and bounced two 1,2kw Arri HMI into mirrors which were rigged to the ceiling to simulate an upper window outside the frame.