Armin Steeb is adrift: just finished with school, living with his middle-class parents, clueless about finding work. He tries connecting with a girl, he engages in risky sex with strangers in public toilets, he goes to job interviews. He also sends an anonymous letter to a local Munich newspaper, claiming responsibility for a fatal road accident. He fitfully pursues notoriety as he goes through life nearly without affect. What will it take to get Armin to smile? Written by
I watched this last night at the Houston International Film Festival, also know as World Fest. I thought it was a bit strange, though I liked it. The German title, literally translated into English means False Confessor, and I find it upsetting that the title was changed for American audiences. The story line seemed flat and I had trouble distinguishing reality from dreams. I speak a tiny bit of German, not very much, but I could tell that the subtitles were a bit off. For example, in English we say things a certain way, and people know what we mean. In German, they say things and everyone knows what they mean, but when translated into English, it confuses us, because their common phrases differ from ours in their word choice. I think that it might have been better if the subtitles were translated literally, with the verbs put in the order of an English sentence, of course. Sometimes they would say one word, and the subtitles read the societal equivalent instead of the actually literal definition, which might have helped improve the story a little. I have to admit though, I found myself very confused during parts. I expected this to be an average foreign film, but it turned out to be an artsy, abstract foreign film. It was a good movie though. I have no problem with abstract movies, except for the fact that I have trouble telling what they really mean. I did actually get something out of this movie though and I could tell what, at least part of it's, underlying meaning was. It's about how dull things are, we leave school, we apply for jobs, they're all the same, everyone does the same thing, and we live out our existence in a dull, tired world of repetition. I could also interpret it as a young person, dulled with life, not wanting to conform to the dull existence that society forces us to fit. It is as if Armin is bored, he's tired of his dull life in the suburbs and is forced to pretend he committed crimes, and eventually more, to fill the void he has, the need for excitement and thrills. Interesting movie. I will say this though, I did see some symbolism in the mask scene.
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