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Verbotene Liebe (1989)

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Title: Verbotene Liebe (1989)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hans-Peter Dahm ...
Gudrun Ritter ...
Lehrerin Laube
Heide Kipp ...
Barbaras Eltern
Peter Sodann ...
Barbaras Eltern
Karin Gregorek ...
Georgs Eltern
Rolf Dietrich ...
Georgs Eltern
Dietrich Körner ...
Gert Gütschow ...
Bärbel Röhl ...
Die Richterin
Stefan Rehberg
Joachim Konrad
Joachim Nimtz
Karl Kranzkowski
Uta Koschel


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Interesting youth drama from the fall of the Berlin Wall era
22 August 2006 | by (Earth, Solar system) – See all my reviews

When I was watching this, I couldn't help but notice how different this film dealt with the issue of underage nudity and sexuality with young actors in films. According to IMDb, miss Brendler was 14 years old at most, when this film was shot, she could even have been 13 years old, given the fact that the copyrighted date on films is often much later than the actual shooting date. Whatever her age, miss Brendler was very young at the time of shooting the film, and the nude scenes have a liberty rarely to be seen in today's mainstream films.

Considering that she has been in 42 productions since, working quite steadily up to the time of writing this, 2006, we can't say that it has harmed her career in the slightest. Au contraire!

Wow, how different is this from a present day Hollywood approach! The only American or Hollywood examples which are comparable to this one which come to mind right now, are both done by Europeans (Frenchmen at that! ;) ): Louis Malle with Pretty Baby (1978) and Luc Besson with Léon (1994). We have to note of course, that the latter didn't contain any underage nudity, but that miss Portmans appearance in a basketball shirt (wife-beater or white men's underwear shirt) sparked comments of "child pornography" or remarks along those lines. There is another similar film with serious underage nudity, Spielen wir Liebe (1977), but this one is Italian and so little known and is such a small production, it can't be called mainstream.

In contrast, the denial and suppression of any underage sexuality by Hollywood is such that girls between age ten and say, 14 to 16, can not even wear one-layer as in just one t-shirt, they have to wear at least two layers, two shirts on top of each other, let alone bikinis, and not mentioning upper body nudity at all.

Not that I think that this is a necessity, but Hollywood norms border on the Victorian at times. After all, we live in the 21st century. Truly, deeply, sadly, the 60s are over, we (or Hollywood at least) have gone full swing back to the 1950s or even further back.

Now, 'Verbotene Liebe' deals with all this pretty matter of factly, but it does show that sex at a young age can have it's sometimes severe effects. Luckily, it takes its subject matter seriously and sensitively. The seriousness is not unexpected when one considers that the makers are {a} German and {b} communist-ish.

Finally, in a day and age where at least the American actresses are by default a MINIMUM of 5 years older than the characters they play (for example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawsons Creek: 4 to 7 years older, Greys Anatomy: even TEN years older) it is refreshing to see an actress, and a good one at that, to play someone her own age. It's true that physical development would have prevented miss Brendler to play a convincing 10 year old, but still, it's nice.

Of course there is such a thing as underage sex, or sex at an age too young, but the divisions are unclear, which is not to say that unbridled teen sex should be allowed. Certainly not when the age differences greater than 2 or 3 years. But it is clear that teens are curious about sex, denial of this fact would be foolish.

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