Critic’s Choice: Ulrich Köhler’s ‘In My Room’ gives last man fantasy a wry twist

Hans Löw, in the movie 'In My Room.'
Hans Löw in Ulrich Köhler’s film “In My Room.”
(Grasshopper Film)

“In My Room,” the fourth feature from the German director Ulrich Köhler (“Sleeping Sickness”), spins a wondrously wry and counterintuitive tale of postapocalyptic survival. No clear explanations are forthcoming as to why a slovenly 40-something named Armin (Hans Löw) awakens one morning to find himself the proverbial last man on earth. Instead the camera simply watches as Armin, after some physical and emotional adjustment, begins living off the land, tending livestock and slowly but surely seizing control of his life.

Is Armin really as alone as he thinks he is? Does he become the man he was always meant to be, or is his idyllic new existence a silly, meaningless fluke? As signaled by the hilarious visual gag that opens the story, “In My Room” is a mysterious and surprising movie about the frustration of the unseen and the poignancy of paths not taken. Screening Friday at Echo Park Film Center courtesy of Acropolis Cinema, it’s also a reminder that low-key realism and rigorously imagined fantasy often make ideal bedfellows.

‘In My Room’

When: Friday, Sept. 20, 8 p.m.

Where: Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St.

Price: $12