Böse Zellen

Austria, Germany, Switzerland


A butterfly flaps its wings and, following the effects of chaos theory this causes a tornado over the Gulf of Mexico in turn provoking a terrible plane crash. Fate dictates entirely at random that 24-year-old Manu is the miraculous sole survivor. Five years later Manu goes about her business in a small Austrian town working in the local supermarket. The life shared with her husband, daughter, siblings and friends stretches out through associations old and new, deliberate and accidental in an interlocking web of relationships creating a constant flux of cause and effect. When fate dictates that Manu will not survive her next accident, the everyday continuum of everyone's lives is momentarily disrupted forcing a reflection on their desires, and how to play the next hand in the poker game of life.

Director's Statement

The theme of interpersonal dependence has always fascinated me and this was one of the impulses to develop the main characters in "Free Radicals".
I consciously imagined various combinations of people from quite different worlds who appear to share the same traits: dependence an others on one hand, and an utter loneliness on the other. All of them fight for something or someone, while none of them seem to understand exactly what it is they really need. Yet, there is strong vitality about them, even when they are in the throes of depression. The amazing way they pick themselves up and carry on, bouncing back.
We are all trapped in intricate relationships. To better depict these systems of relationships in a contemporary setting I had to create a complex world with ambivalent characters. The question of the existence of good and evil is expressed through them, as well as the complexity of cause and effect.
When I was writing the script, it became clear to me that in my previous films people had often looked up to the sky. You felt their yearnings. In this film we often shoot from the perspective of looking down which suggests imprisonment. "Free Radicals" is less about this longing to be somewhere else than the thought of finding happiness (or not) with what you already have.

Director's Biography

Born in Vienna in 1970, Barbara Albert studied theatre science, German language and journalism. She started with directing and screenwriting studies at the Vienna Film Academy in 1991 and worked as assistant director, script/
continuity, assistant editor and acted in the feature film "Memory of the Unknown", directed by Nathalie Alonso Casale.
In 1999 she founded the film production company coop99 together with Martin Gschlacht, Jessica Hausner and Antonin Svoboda.

2003 FREE RADICALS (Böse Zellen) (Feature Film)
2002 ZUR LAGE (Documentary)
1999 NORTHERN SKIRTS (Nordrand) (Feature Film)
1998 SLIDIN' — BRIGHT AND SHINY WORLD (Alles bunt und wunderbar)
1998 SUN SPOTS (Sonnenflecken) (Shortfilm)
1997 SOMEWHERE ELSE (Documentary)

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Barbara Albert

Written by: Barbara Albert

Produced by: Antonin Svoboda, Martin Gschlacht

Cinematography: Martin Gschlacht

Editing: Monika Willi

Costume Design: Monika Buttinger

Make-Up & Hair: Karin Schön-Kopriva, Susanne Neidhart

Sound Design: Bernhard Schmid

Cast: Kathrin Resetarits (Manu), Martin Brambach (Reini), Rupert L. Lehofer (Lukas), Bellinda Akwa-Asare (Sandra), Ursula Strauss (Andrea), Georg Friedrich (Andreas), Marion Mitterhammer (Gerlinde)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2004