Artist and writer Keren Cytter’s feature film debuted at the 74th Berlinale, leaving audiences wondering: did that guy really become a drone?

Guns are iPhones, as drones are people, as influencers are actors. Visual artist and director Keren Cytter makes these comparisons cinematic at the 74th Berlinale, debuting her feature film The Wrong Movie, a 96-minute experimental glimpse into the existential links between tenants in an apartment building. The title is apt: told through a series of vignettes, the plot is so formally dissonant that it feels like watching a movie you didn’t sign up for. Each of these vignettes is revealed to be interconnected, stacked together like rental units are in property buildings: sometimes you can hear your neighbor through your walls, sometimes they’ll wander into your apartment looking to score some heroin. This is the beauty of The Wrong Movie. How do guns, iPhones, and drones signify people, influencers, and actors? Are there any formal differences between object and subject, or does comparing the two merely gesture toward the interconnectedness of life, as if everyone on earth lived in the same apartment building?

Cytter never answers these questions; she instead chooses to pile them on, adding drugs, incest, and suicidal ideation to make wrong so wrong that it feels right. Perspective shifts between director of photography Alex Huggins’s more emotional lens and the sterile gaze of influencer Alex’s drone, which his character (played by Jordan Raoufpur) plans to unbox for his YouTube channel in the first vignette. Talking to a ring light, Alex veers from a product-themed video to over-sharing about his battle with addiction to the death of his father in that same cringe-inducing manner employed by today’s real-life social media stars. He mentions his ex-girlfriend Angel (Laura Hajek) in all of this, and she suddenly appears in his apartment looking for her pressure cooker, which she then takes home.

Asbhy Bland in The Wrong Movie.

Alex isn’t seen for the rest of the movie. He gets replaced by his drone, which follows Angel home. She sits before an iPhone mounted on her own ring light, and begins to film an omelet tutorial before getting creeped out by Alex-drone, which stares at her like a person but also like a piece of technology. She visits her new boyfriend John (Elijah Lajmer), an actor, and also an addict.

Aspiration is what drives the rest of the film: Nicole (Ashby Bland) wants to kill herself; her new housekeeper Rob (John Verdil) wants to reform his sex addiction using the Bible; Timor (Edward Baker) wants to get smacked, later smoking heroin with Nicole. But what these characters have in common is deeper than their surface motivations, as revealed by Timor’s mother (Devery Doleman), whom he lives with. She tells a story of their neighbor who was having sex with his daughter, and then we realize that daughter is Nicole, who’s been carrying her father’s ashes with her in her purse since she came to visit her and Timor for a fix. When Rob catches Nicole whispering into her toilet, we realize that she’s communicating with another neighbor who’s trying to help her turn her iPhone into a gun so she can kill herself. The apartment that Timor and John later rob is Angel’s apartment, which we realize makes them all tenants in the same fucked up building. The cast unites in Angel’s bathroom, as Nicole retrieves her iPhone-turned-gun from the toilet and shoots herself. Angel films a final attempt at a video for her social media, turning Nicole’s death into a call to action for her followers to seek help if they feel suicidal.

The Wrong Movie careens between objectives (get famous on the internet, get high, kill yourself) to highlight a larger subjectivity lurking between vignettes. A gun theoretically can be an iPhone in the same way a person can become a drone; if you’re in the wrong movie, these comparisons are not metaphors, but syllogisms whose logic leads to the same conclusion: right is an illusion best manipulated on film.

Elijah Lajmer, Edward Baker, and Laura Hajek in The Wrong Movie.

Laura Hajek in The Wrong Movie.