Opening 27 Sep 2007
Full-time fine artist Armin Völckers has switched his media, and in taking this risk, he has snapped up instant success with his first short film Leroy Cleans Up by winning a special BMW prize for film editing. Leroy is now the follow-up feature film using the same ideas as the short, which deals with intercultural problems in Berlin.
What happens to a 16-year-old boy when puberty has just kicked in? For Leroy attending high school, it is more than just the ordinary growing pains. His problems are extremely complicated: no mobile phone, no television and no discussions with his parents on the subject. So when Leroy falls in love, how does he make contact with the girl? He opts for the old style of inadvertently bumping into her on the street. Much to his surprise it works! His new girlfriend, Eva Braun, invites him to meet her family, but Leroy’s best friend warns him that Eva has five skinhead brothers, and Leroy is black!
Völckers uses his artistic background as well as a sense of humor to tell this story of racism and cultural identity. The film is a continuum of cultural contrast: one minute classical music, the next soul. Leroy discovers Malcolm X and all the Black political movements as well as being confronted with the Neo-Nazi and skinhead movement. He struggles with his own identity: is he black like his father and should he embrace Black Power? Or is he like his German mother since most Germans only see a black boy on the surface? Who is he? The constant character in the film is Eva, who seems to be able to accept everyone for who they are. This is an excellent film which could be used in schools to help integrate the classrooms. It shows that fighting is not the best solution and that there are more creative ways to deal with our differences. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)