This week our writers peruse the psychedelic and hone in on the hallucinative in their exploration of Michael Glawogger's absurd Austrian stoner comedy CONTACT HIGH (2009).
WHAT'S IN THE BAG?
The MacGuffin, popularised by Alfred Hitchcock, is a plot device used to drive the narrative forward that usually has no other explanation or meaning. The main point of a drug-fuelled romp such as CONTACT HIGH (Michael Glawogger 2009) is to use the medium of film to demonstrate the effects of psychotics. Therefore, a MacGuffin is a necessity so that characters have something to do other than just get high.
In this film, the MacGuffin is a bag. The contents and the purpose of the bag are left a mystery, other than it needs to be returned to a stereotypical gangster type. At one point or another nearly all the character are tasked with retrieving the bag. This means Max (Michael Ostrowski) and Johann (Raimund Wallisch) are involved in all kinds of hijinks, such as mistaken bags and awkward car chases, all because of the mysterious bag. It is easy to imagine that if the bag were removed from the plot entirely there would not even be a movie. This shows what a crucial plot point MacGuffins are.
In the final scene of the film, the bag is opened only to keep its true contents hidden. What comes out is a visual display of fairies, mushrooms and butterflies. It might be interpreted that the bag itself contained drugs as Max and Johann were trying to return the bag to a drug dealer. However, it seems more likely that the inside of the bag is a drug trip and represents the film itself; the bag is nothing more than an excuse to show these visual representations of getting high. What is in the bag is actually meaningless in this kind of narrative; the bag is only needed for this kind of meandering story to give it some semblance of story.
Every day this week a different writer will provide their perspective on our MUBIVIEWS film and each post will be open to comments from our readers. Watch CONTACT HIGH on mubi.com until 19 May 2017 and join the discussion!
One MUBI film, five perspectives, endless possibilities.