In this 1984 West German film, a 12 year-old street kid in a slum of Berlin struggles to stay afloat through a commitment to his compassionate teacher and ambivalent classmates, aged 11-14,... See full summary »
In this 1984 West German film, a 12 year-old street kid in a slum of Berlin struggles to stay afloat through a commitment to his compassionate teacher and ambivalent classmates, aged 11-14, who also bear the harsh marks of impoverishment, which manifest themselves in peer ruthlessness and disrespect of adults. Movie does not, however, end in a tragic manner. Film contains frequent profanity, alcoholism, mild crime and peer violence, brief male nudity. This describes the film in German, without dubbing or subtitles. Written by
A sharp insight into the poverty of West Berlin before unification.
Set in 1984, Boris is about 12 years old and lives in a small two room hovel in the run down ghetto district of Kreuzberg in Berlin. It is an old 19th. century tenement house without a bathroom and his bed occupies the only toilet. His father has long since disappeared and his alcoholic illiterate mother has taken in a criminal lover who grabs the only bedroom for himself when Boris's elder sister finally escapes.
This is the glaring depiction of working class deprivation in West Berlin before the wall came down. Criminal survival is the norm. Education for most kids is a past time before accepting low level occupation and repeating the base experiences of their parents.
A young teacher tries to help the lad and encourage him to climb out of poverty but the establishment is critical of his unconventional approach as he tries to befriend the kids and talk their language. Therein lies the drama as inevitable events unfold but the best aspect of this film is the sharp insight it gives into a way of life that was then so common but is now mercifully less oppressive. Boris is no hero but he wins our sympathy and our hearts as he comes to terms with the reality of life around him.
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