Directed by Waldemar Oldenburger / Reviewed by Biplab Das
Vera raises the question of whether old, terminally sick people commit suicide as a way to end their pain. The film is the story of Vera, a young woman who helps old and ailing people to suicide. She works as a contract killer who accompanies old men or women and helps them to commit suicide. Terminally sick and old hire Vera to end their life. She gets hired by those people who are unable to end their life because of fear. Vera’s style of operation is simple. She gives her a ‘client’ a glass of solution that stops the heartbeat of the ailing individual, and when the person is dead, she hands a bunch of flowers. In return, she takes jewelry as compensation.
Vera lives alone in an apartment. She shouldn’t be fall under the financially vulnerable category. It seems she gets assignments regularly. Her operational style makes her look professional. But deep down somewhere, she is unhappy with her work. She cries silently after returning from ‘work’. It implies she doesn’t enjoy her work. However, she gives no sign of changing her profession. The story takes a seismic shift when she arrives at a country-side for another assignment.
This particular assignment turns out to be a completely different affair. She gets hired by a man whose mother is sick and old. He wants his mother to be dead but unable to kill her. This has prompted him to hire Vera. After arriving at the location, she explains the son of the ailing old lady about the procedure. What to do and what not to do. Things turn murky when Vera realizes that she is inside of a trap. Vera also finds out that she has a deep connection with the lady, Greda. Rather than help Greda to commit suicide, Vera tries to prolong the life of Greda against the will of the family and to solve the mystery. The film starts narrating a different story from this point. It starts to tighten the grip firmly in terms of storytelling.
Vera is a film that shows about the darker side of society- people living and dying alone. The story of Vera is an unusual yet new to many. In terms of storytelling, the film offers an interesting perspective on suicide. The director of the film, Waldemar Oldenburger, is a self-taught filmmaker. He is fascinated with the idea that what motivates people and why they act in a certain way. With this film, he wanted to look behind the fates and ways of life, which blurs the countless headlines in everyday life of the fast-moving time. The cinematography and editing are both falls under the category of ‘good’. After making short films, Vera is the first feature film of Waldemar Oldenburger.
The film wanted to address the issue of a dignified death. We all want a dignified life filled with love and care. We also desire a dignified death. The film argues that when our dignity gets lost, we protest. But what happens if this decision is taken away from us. The director tries to argue that it’s us, human beings should decide how and when to leave this life. He also raises the importance of a family in choosing the right path or ignoring the wrong. The end of the film offers a bloodbath between Vera and Greda’s son. Interestingly, the word ‘Vera’ means truth. The film ends with another truth that Vera has been searching for long unknowingly.