The film is directed by Joshua Oppenheimer from a screenplay he co-wrote with Rasmus Heisterberg.
The film is produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen and Oppenheimer for Final Cut for Real. Wild Atlantic Pictures and Match Factory Productions are collaborating on the project. The financing is being provided by the Danish Film Institute and the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW.
Joshua Oppenheimer’s ‘The End’ Plot:
A wealthy family survives in a palatial bunker, two decades after the world has ended. There is a mother, father, and their twenty-year-old son – he was born in the bunker and has never seen the outside world. There is a maid, with whom the son has his only honest relationship. There is also a doctor, a butler – and finally a young woman who, having barely survived, manages to find her way in. The film is a musical, and the title is THE END.
Before the young woman arrives, the family celebrates their survival as confirmation of their success and righteousness, but unspoken blame over leaving loved ones behind has come between the parents, hollowing out whatever intimacy they once shared. They struggle to repress the guilt they feel for this – as well as a more diffuse regret for contributing to the world’s end. (The Father was an oil tycoon.) The music is inspired by Broadway’s Golden Age – the unearned optimism of the classic American musical embodies the bunker’s desperate delusions. In THE END, it is an optimism born of fear. They are afraid to face their guilt, and it is this fear, more than the inhospitable conditions outside, that prevents them from leaving. Were they to leave, they’d be confronted by the truth of what they did to the world – and the fate to which they abandoned their families.
There will be no Golden Age theatricality to the performances. Instead, the unvarnished realism invites the audience to identify with the characters in this intimate tragedy about guilt, denial, and unfulfilled longing. As in the director’s THE ACT OF KILLING, there is also absurdity and dark humor – and, as the son and young woman fall in love, a fragile hope.
Josh Schmidt, the composer behind Adding Machine, composed the original music for the film.