Beautifully maintained and well located
A mansion, a lawn, some trees: an unmoved frontal view, 9 minutes long. We hear an off-screen voice: co-director Lukas Marxt commands/directs what goes on in the image. He calls up participants in a remote-controlled choreography: a certain "John" and his lawn-mower, remote-controlled by him; a "Mandy" whose drone ("camera 2") hovers above the house; and co-director "Jakub" Vrba, the only on-screen person, who climbs a ladder and holds up a cornetthat emits smoke and sparks.
Marxt´s orders make it happen: a strange ritual of 'order' in a bourgeois home which, as the film´s title says, is Beautifully maintained and well located. Maintenance provides continuity; here it locates us in a reversal of time: In this film, things don´t just go forward (order–>execution); there is also retroactivity at play. Not least in relation to three antecedents which are films: First, there is Marxt & Vrba´s companion piece In a beautiful and quiet location in which smoke and off-screen instructions penetrate a landscape. Second, there is John Smith´s 1976 film Girl Chewing Gum, toying with its director´s fantasy according to which every single detail in a long shot of a busy city street happens according to his orders. Fittingly, the Well maintained-ritual starts with "John! You can move the lawn-mower into the frame now!". Third, this lawn-mower is a grand-child of the remote-controlled lawn-mowers in the telematic mansion of Jerry Lewis´ 1962 It´s Only Money.
Remote-controlled from outside, from long ago, everything that appears here is part of a power regime. But who´s in control here? And who´s behind that control? Is there an origin of power? Could it be dad? "Dad! You can show up on the balcony now!" Briefly appearing in a house-owner´s pose, he is just one of the film´s on- and off-screen motifs. So who is in control when it comes to ground and housing? An author posing as a leader? Another posing on a ladder? Is it money? (It´s only money...) We remain in suspense, hovering, remote-controlled, under a title that quotes from the real estate market. (Drehli Robnik)