Opening 19 Oct 2017
Mauser (Scheicher) is 17 and lives in a high rise at the edge of the city. He falls for Jackie (Schüle) and meets her at the swimming pool. Edda (Polley) is 21, lives in a rich district, drives a little red Volkswagen beetle and has a thing for Mauser. Mauser’s father (Schick) strangles his wife (and Mauser’s stepmother) Laura (Katharina Behrens) during an argument. Another young man named Kondor (Basman) fights with Mauser. All this occurs in the first three minutes of the film. From there, it’s back to the beginning for another 94 minutes of explanation.
This is a German coming-of-age story of which there have been several in recent months such as Das Pubertier, Tigermilch and Axoloti Overkill, which all feature girls. Now we have a young boy trying to cope with life’s anger, frustration, and insecurity. There is shop-lifting, a telephone number on written on bare skin, a boxing match, a secret signal (wiping a hand under the left eye), etc. All plan to attend a big concert organized under an Indian theme, much like the world-famous, heavy metal, open-air concert in Wacken near Hamburg, Germany. All interesting details, but do we really know what’s going on? Does Mauser go to school? Have a job? Who are these people who come and go? What’s with the Indian? Mauser says, “Tell me that this isn’t all a dream.” Perhaps it is and perhaps one should see the film more than once in order to understand all the facets of the plot. The story originates from a book of the same name by Nils Mohl, for which he won the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis (best German book for young people) in 2012. Mohl was born, raised and lives in Hamburg. The filming was in Hamburg neighborhoods such as Wentorf and Rahlstedt. I can imagine that the book is well-worth reading, even actually to be recommended, in order to better understand the film. (Becky Tan)