A story about a troubled boy growing up in England, set in 1983. He comes across a few skinheads on his way home from school, after a fight. They become his new best friends even like family. Based on experiences of director Shane Meadows.
Berlinale was full of surprises this year. The festival program was read through again and again, but still the selection of films was difficult like before, randomness was the easiest way, so my pre-made film list looked quite different at the end. In the Panorama section of the festival, I came across Özgür Yildirim's feature film debut Chiko, produced by Faith Akin. His name created an urge to see the film as I am deeply interested in the Transnational German Cinema.
Özgür Yildirim is a young director from Hamburg. He tells a dark story about loyalty, friendship, rage, revenge, drugs, passion and alienation in a youth gang in Hamburg. The main character Isa Cakiroglu (Denis Moschitto) is called Chiko by his friend circle in Hamburg. This circle is made up of young people with migration background, speaking the famous sociolect. They like action, excitement, fame, expensive cars and especially power. Of course, money is the key in order to get the things they dream of. Money is power, money is respect.
It is quite clear that Özgür Yildirim was inspired by films like Scarface, Goodfellas and Reservoir dogs. Chiko" has a high tempo; it proceeds too quickly without characterization of figures and ends like other films of that genre. Furthermore, the film uses too many clichés about young immigrants, which the audience from this side of the world apparently enjoys.
Still, Denis Moschitto fits very well with his own charm and masculinity; Volkan Özcan as the loser one and Reyhan Sahin are very promising as new faces. Moritz Bleibtreu is fascinating as usual.
In the discussion after the premiere at the Berlinale; Özgür Yildirim, Volkan Özcan and some of the crew were on the stage to answer the questions. The director is a smart, enthusiastic, witty person. The overall reaction of the audience was positive; people enjoyed the funny dialogues. A person in the second row came up with the idea that violence in the film may cause more violence among the young people. The "violence" theme and especially violence among young people with migration background is quite popular nowadays. Do such films really have a negative effect on young people? The answer came from one of the back rows: These guys are not presented as heroes to be admired; why should anyone be bothered seeing such nice, hot guys on the screen? Public premiere tickets of Chiko at the Zoo Palast were sold out quickly and the film created a lot of excitement among the audience. To my mind, it is enough reason to go and see this film.
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