Like all good science fiction, Transfer takes one technological change and hypothesizes what that would mean for society. And it does so very well.
The new technology is a process which allows the Menzana Corporation to transfer an old person’s mind into a young healthy body. The mind of the young person is not destroyed by this process, but the host personality is suppressed, and is only allowed four hours of consciousness per day. Set in near-future Germany, the protagonists are an old German couple, who still love one another deeply, and aren’t ready to see the end of their lives yet. The hosts are two young Africans, who have given up their bodies so their families in war-torn and impoverished countries can have a better life.
Transfer explores the issue of exploitation superbly, and with real humanity. With such a setup, you’d expect a screed against the way the rich rob the poor, the old cannibalize the young and how the Western world has fleeced the African continent. But it is not so simple. The hosts become entangled with the lives of their rich Germans, and the old couple, in turn, discovers more of their hosts’ perspective.
I found the resolution of the story unnecessarily dark, but it seems like I have that reaction to many German films. I guess they just like their endings a little more downbeat there, but if you’re okay with that, I’d highly recommend you check it out.
It’s currently showing on Netflix.