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Vaccine Nation (2008)
Null, dull, bull - an awful example of how and why the "age of disinformation" is upon us.
Right, if you live outside the US, chances are slim that you have ever heard names like that of Gary Null. Consider yourself lucky. Technically, he is what psychoanalysts call a crank, a conspiracy-nut, who produces numerous "documentaries" every year, generally through the same cut & paste method. Most will cause scientists, doctors and people of sound mind to face-palm during the first five minutes and then turn this tripe off. Basically they all have the same theme of how science and medicine has got it all wrong and he, Null, got it all right. That deadly diseases like cancer or AIDS don't exist and, if they do exist, can be cured by purchasing Nulls home-manufactured supplement-products (with which Null and a couple of his customers poisoned themselves with in 2010 and, insert irony here, had to be hospitalized. As we can imagine, Null descends from a line of profession that has a long tradition in the US, namely the snake-oil-peddlers and Film-Flam-men.
"Vaccine Nation" was only one of eight "documentaries" that the ever-productive Null has released in 2008. It would now be easy to dismiss all those videos, ignore them on channels like YouTube, just like one would do with a zillion other paranoid conspiracy-"documentaries". However, "Vaccine Nation" is a different beast and by far one of the most dangerous of its self-serving kind.
To put the message of this product in a nut-shell: Vaccines are not actually helping reduce countless diseases from, polio, to mumps, to measles, but causes autism in children, because (according to Null and his ilk) they contain, formaldehyde (used to embalm corpses), aborted fetal matters (here Null caters to the religious right), animal by-products and poisonous metals like mercury and aluminum. If this content alone will make you cringe and shake your head in disbelief, I congratulate you on your common sense. Millions of others aren't so lucky. This army of semi- or medical illiterates will cling to the medical fear mongering that people like Null or former Playboy-centerfold Jenny McCarthy spread and profit from. Yes, we live in a brave new world, where impressionable housewives choose to take their medical advice from quacks, bit-actors and porn-models, rather than doctors. It could be this, that explains why diseases like measles and polio are once again on the rise in certain parts of the United States. If this kind of medical hogwash is allowed to spread even further, we will not only see the return of diseases that have almost died out, but the return of things like the Negative Pressure Ventilator or, as it was "fondly" called during the Polio-outbreaks of the past, the Iron Lung. I dare say: had people like Null had tools like computers, internet and editing-programs at their hands 40 years ago, smallpox would not only still be among us, but that deadly illness would be rampant.
The reader may have noticed that this review deals less with the content of this film and more with the effect that it may have if taken on face-value. There are various reasons for this. One being, that this pedestrian cut & paste job is hardly worth to be taken serious as a documentary film and discussing it would do it an honour that it doesn't deserve. This has nothing to do with documentary film-making but rather propaganda, delusion of the mentally ill-equipped and, not least, a means to promote Nulls own commercial quackery.
On a side-note: I'm fully aware that by writing this review I put myself in line for being harassed with countless lectures on how doctors put mercury in our medicine, the pharmaceutical industry is out to kill our children and that the government is all behind it, etc. This will inevitably be followed by invitations to countless conspiracy-website, where I'll be asked to "educate" myself on a sheer endless amount of "facts", that people have pulled out of an orifice which IMDb won't allow me to mention here. This too has a lesson and teaches us, what the "block"-, "ignore"- and "mark as spam"-buttons are made for.
As to rating it: it gets the mandatory 1/10, courtesy of IMDb and from me noting but a disgusted "thumbs down" on YouTube.
Soleil rouge (1971)
As far as Western- / Samurai-Crossovers go, this is pure perfection
People are simply suckers for crossovers: be it Superman and Spiderman slugging it out in the comic books, Hercules fighting Aztecs in the Italian muscle n' sandal flicks or Dracula dueling Jessie James. In "Red Sun" the dream for many a kid came true: samurais going head to head with cowboys and Indians.
The concept of mixing Eastern culture and (especially) martial arts with the archaic Wild West has been often tried, sometimes with success but more often with complete failure (Jackie Chan escapades, numerous Spaghetti-Western-Kung-Fu-crossovers and the "Kung Fu" TV-series, which was a technical and aesthetic failure, even though the audience loved it). This had little to do with the incompatibility between east and west but rather lacking directors who could handle both genres with equal dignity.
The story is rather plain and simple: Bronson and Delon plan to rob a train that happens to carry the imperial Japanese ambassador. The heist goes fine but fiery-eyed Delon (remember, he is French and left-handed) betrays his partner, leaving him at the mercy of the Japanese entourage but not before stealing a Samurai sword that was meant as a present for the US-president. The ambassador makes Bronson a deal he cannot refuse: bring back the sword within a week or loose your head. To insure that Bronson is doing his job, the disgraced sword-keeper (Mifume) is sent along, likewise obliged to commit 'hara-kiri' when the seven day span is over. Both men form an uneasy camaraderie, one driven by obligation, the other from thirst for revenge and each perceiving the others culture as plain alien.
It would be very hard to duplicate this 'innocent' clash of the cultures-scenario today: too many similarities, too many cross-cultural interchanges have occurred. Today a kid from Japan would be no more alien to the image of an American cowboy than your average businessman would be to the concept of eating raw fish with rice, namely sushi, which they eat anyway during lunch-break. Back in the early 70's, those images tended to be way more exotic to the average-Joe. Back then we could believe Mifumes wide-eyed look of disbelieve at 'culture' of the Wild West as well as Bronsons inability to comprehend his 'partners' culture. Needless to say, this leads to many-a comic relief and, once the colts and katanas are pulled, plenty of action.
Mifune and Bronson are simply veterans at what they do (so is Ursulla Andress, by the way, namely dressing, undressing and throwing tantrums). They really don't need much dialogue to bring their sentiments and thoughts across each confused and by degree disgusted by the others culture and behaviour. No matter how you look at it, the chemistry works and is believable. Throw in Alain Delon doing what Delon can do best namely look chiseled like a roman statue and throw glares that could cut through ice you've got the perfect cocktail of experienced acting and charisma.
Terence Young made this happen by applying the same he did to the first two James Bond films: make a serious movie but don't take the movie too serious. The result was a comic-book Western that owed more to the Euro-Western of the 60's (perhaps even a bit more to the German Schnitzel-, rather than the Italo-Spaghetti Westerns) than it did to John Wayne or "Bonanza".
Granted, this is not a cinematographic masterpiece, this isn't Sergio Leone nor is it Eastwoods "The Unforgiven". This would be comparing "Dr. No" to the ultra-realistic violence of "Casino Royal". Neither films need to be taken serious but should rather be enjoyed. This isn't "Dance with the Wolves"; this is about a bandit and a samurai on a mission to retrieve the emperors sword, on the way slugging it out with bandits and Indians. Throw in the (as usually) excellent soundtrack by Maurice Jarre and what you get is the perfect blend between Euro-Western and Samurai Adventure. 8/10
Detroit Rock City (1999)
Let's hope it will stay the last KISS-Film. Can't improve perfection
KISS isn't known to be the most giving band in the world. Sure, you get your money's worth, but don't expect anything more or something like a free autograph or a "hi, how are u doing" from the last remaining original members without taking out your wallet first. That seems particularly true these days, where the band still produces tours and albums on the sole premise that most fans are completists, who cannot suffer holes in their collections. So, "Detroit Rock City" was one of the last few cases where the fan had the feeling that this was produced by band & fans for fans and not only for cash.
Sure, I had rooted for this film when it came out and sure, as a kid I had my room plastered with KISS-posters, wore KISS-Make-Up during Halloween and religiously bought most things that bore the distinct logo (despite the design being altered in Germany, because it resembled the SS-Runes a little too close, suggesting that Mr. Chaim Wietz and Mr. Stanley Eisen were Nazis). Got my dad to smuggle me into "Runaway", despite being a few years short of admission (and I didn't want to go see this film because I'm fond of Tom Selleck). Thinking of it, my parents probably bought Gene Simmons a new Cadillac, despite nowadays I'd hope that this money went into the pockets of either Ace Frehley or Peter Criss.
By the time "Detroit Rock City" hit the cinema, it had pretty much been clear to even the hardened fan, that 90 percent apart from the music was hype and that the two founding members had begun to view their band more of a cash-milking-cow rather than a vehicle to transport good music. But why drop a lifelong habit? Like Richard Linklaters "Dazed and Confused", Adam Rifkin was able to capture the feel and air of the time "When KISS ruled the world", which is only one aspect that makes the film work. Though by the time I was old enough to get into the concerts KISS had already taken off their iconic make-up, one could really get a feel of what the great KISSteria must have been like. Then there is the humour: I'm not easily moved to laugh tears at slapstick, but I have to admit that a heartily laughed more than once. The priest and the mushroom-pizza, the clash between KISS-Fans and Disco-Guidos or the Hawk stripping for cash, it all made me crack up. As a bonus, there are plenty of KISS Insider-jokes, from the names of the protagonists to the dialogue; it should be abundantly clear: Adam Rifkin knows his KISS.
When talking to the fans, the issue of a sequel would invariably come up. Despite still being a fan-boy deep inside, rationality keeps saying that this just wouldn't work as little as KISS worked after 1982. What would people like to see? Our four protagonists being in college and moaning the fact that KISS has degenerated into a run-of-the-mill Glam band during the 80's? Having settled down to a blue-collar-existence and taking their kids to see the KISS-reunion in the 90's or having to witness the gold-digging sham that KISS has degenerated to in recent years? No, it's good that "Detroit Rock City" is (and will likely remain) a one-time-thing could be a lesson there for Simmons and Stanley.
Ken Park (2002)
With the exception of the porn, nothing new from Larry Clark
I do admit, I had rooted for "Ken Park" prior to having seen it. Mainly because Larry Clarks nihilistic "Kids" is still one of my favourite movies. In "Kids" Clark (with more than a little help from Harmony Korine) caught the essence of a nihilistic, hedonist youth-culture, that was almost a little too close to home if you watched "Kids" for the first time and where in a similar age-range as the main-figures. Prior to viewing "Ken Park" I had very little knowledge of the story, but presumed that it would be in a similar vein as "Kids". I was not altogether wrong, but felt vaguely confused when I discovered the film in the adult-section of my local videostore.
Now, do not get me wrong on this: I'm neither prude nor opposed to pornography. I've worked in adult-videostore in my young years and probably seen most this side of legality from this genre. Nor am I opposed to using elements of porn in mainstream movies, if those elements serve a point or further the main-story. However, at no point of "Ken Park" did I ever get the feeling it did any of that sort. I watched 'real' Porn and felt less of a voyeur than when I watched "Ken Park". I do not wish to accuse Clark of anything, but my impression was that of a "wily old goat" who transferred his own fantasies unto celluloid.
If we take all the "infamous" sex-scenes out, we're really left with very little that Clark hasn't already shown us in "Kids". There are no real new insights or realisations. Sure, we all get the point: there are some messed up aspects in the society that "Ken Park" shows us, that will leave many of us (who are from a healthier environment) feel grateful not be have any part of. The viewer understands that the lives portrayed here are a mess, but there seems to be no real intent in exploring why that is. Nor does the film offer any solutions (perhaps because Clark thinks there is none?) That's not to say that "Ken Park" is technically a bad film. I'd give it 6/10 but as far as the exploration of angst-ridden, depressive lives of teenagers in Americana goes, "Kids" or Harmony Korines "Gummo" are by far the better films (and don't even have the need for explicit, seedy and un-simulated sex).
Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob (1973)
Slapstick with a heart and a serious message at its core
Having grown up with his movies (them being brought regularly on German TV), I always had the impression that Louis de Funes and his films got better with age. The films progressed with plain, harmless slapstick to slapstick, that often had a serious core or issue. Perhaps one of the best examples is "The Mad Aventures of Rabbi Jacob". Sure, the jokes come fast and often fly rather low, but at heart it's also the story about bigotry, anti-Semitism and how a little laughter often goes a long way to overcome prejudices. We must also remember: despite being filmed in 1973, the last war still lingered in the minds of many Europeans and that, when Germany invaded France, most of the Parisians who welcomed Hitler did not raise their right arm in protest, but for an entirely different reason.
That said, "Rabbi Jacob" has all the elements of your typical de Funes film: At the beginning we get the usual hyped-up de-Funes-persona, with all the trademarks. But the performance becomes a little more subtle when de Funes character reluctantly goes into hiding as 'Rabbi Jacob'. Those scenes are the true highlights of the film, including a short, catchy Klezmer-dance-routine. Despite some jokes being by today's standards far from 'politically-correct', the jokes never go at the expense of any of the subject (maybe with the exception of the stereotypical Arab goons, but here we shouldn't forget that upon the films release, the wife of an Arab embassy-worker had hijacked a plane in protest, because she found the film to be too "pro-Jewish"; the lady was dully gunned down by security, which reminds us that some stereotypes are unlikely to change any time soon).
If you enjoyed this film and particularly that mix of French farce and Jewish humour, I would highly recommend you "Train de Vie" ("Train of Life"), which was filmed a few decades later.
The Doors (1991)
The Doors where good music divides itself from the Justin Gagas and Lady Biebers
I've heard and read much criticism about Oliver Stones "The Doors"-biopic. The shortest may have been "I'm nobody, I'm drunk and depressed; I'm famous, I'm drunk and depressed. I'm fat, I'm drunk and depressed and I'm famous and dead" (presumably no longer drunk and depressed). Others have criticized that Val Kilmer looks nothing like the real "Lizard King", or that the story adds little new to story of both band and singer. That may to an extent be all true that "The Doors" is an excellent film.
At the same time I have to warn that is by no means an objective opinion. See, I come from a generation where the music of "Pink Floyd", "The Rolling Stones", "The Who" and "The Doors" was an integral part of growing-up. It didn't even matter that Jim Morrison had already been dead for more than 20 years. See, it was a divided time, where honest music had become scare and channels like MTV had just begun their barrage of intolerable, artificially-hyped fluff (little did we know of the horrors to still come). So there was the alternative between this Pop, some contemporary honest Rock- and Metal-acts like "Guns N'Roses" or "Nirvana", and of course the "Golden Oldies" from father's tape- and record-collection. This was all zealously played on the weekends and when Oliver Stones "The Doors" finally arrived on videotape, this too was zealously watched before, during and often after various parties. As said: Good times that stand between an objective review.
How true to the fact Stones film is, let historians and people from the era decide that. Fact is, that the film captured the essence of the time, the 1960's and 70's, at least to the point where we viewers, who weren't around then, would like to envision it. We cared little about the social-upheaval of the time, the Flower-Power-movement or Vietnam; we cared about honest Rock-music, epic performances and one of the most charismatic band-leaders of the time. All this we got in both the music and the film itself. Again, it is true that Val Kilmer optically didn't look much like Morrison but the performance went far beyond anything that has since (and after) been given by many look-alike characters. Kilmer even did the unthinkable: singing most of the material himself and emulating the Lizard King to a tit. Yes, after a few moments Kilmer has convinced us that he IS Morrison, by virtues of acting, not make-up or special-effects. Indeed, a performance that would have deserved more praise and awards than it got.
If there's any criticism from my side, it may be that the film is too short. Not just from a fans perspective, who would have spent some more time with Jim, Ray and the other boys (all superbly acted by all involved, included extras and cameos), but because we would have wished to learn a little more about the enigma that was Jim Morrison. Like Oliver Stone once said himself (paraphrasing here): "A movie is two hours and you cannot condense a persons full life to two hours". Sure, there must have been more to Morrison than the fast-living hellraiser and drunken hoodlum-poet in the movie, but more often it's what left out from a persons life rather than what's been meticulously shown that turns a life into a legend. That's a balance that Oliver Stone got just right and hence the film gets a very subjective 8/10 from me.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
What if we'd take the devil to court and who would win the case?
The title alone will conjure up two images, one being that it's a) a horror-film and b) yet another variation of the occult-blockbuster The Exorcist". This is not entirely wrong (it is mainly a horror-film and does borrow heavily from William Friedkins film), but at the same time only scratches the surface.
Loosely based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, one would have hoped that the film delves more into the psychological aspects: Michel was a bright, young student in Germany, who was brought up in a almost fanatical Christian background. Suffering from epilepsy and what would later be diagnosed as schizophrenia, Michel at one time became convinced that she was possessed by demons (among them the emperor Nero and - I'd almost would like to say naturally - Adolf Hitler). This conviction was only nurtured by the local clergy and Michels fanatical parents, ending in the girls death after a lengthy ordeal of exorcisms, self-abuse and starvation. In Germany the story caused a stir and most involved would surely have gone to prison, if they wouldn't have been protected by the cloth of 'holy men'. The recordings of the priests interviewing (if you want to call it that) the girl are in the public domain and still give the listener a chill, whether one believes in the supernatural or not.
But "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" chooses to go another direction. Though the aspects of mental illness are brought up, the producer opted for a slightly more supernatural angle (or at least subliminally). Sure, the movie has some rather spooky, even scary moments, especially during the short vision sequences of Emily Rose and the often disturbing play by Karen Carpenter. The actress does an utterly convincing and excellent job. The rest is pretty much a court-room drama, concentrating on a lawyer defending the priest that may (or may not) have been responsible for Emily's death. An interesting premise, especially in this time and age where religion once again is trying to con its way into everyday life, from schools to politics. For that, the often sinister atmosphere and Carpenters intense performance the film gets a well deserved 7/10 from me.
For those interested in the case of Anneliese Michel, I'd recommend the German movie "Requiem" Hans-Christian Schmid, which deals with the whole issue without any hint of supernatural mumbo-jumbo. It's a bit on the lengthy side and way more pedestrian than "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", but nevertheless a fine reconstruction of the last days of Anneliese.
Are You a Good Person? (2010)
This is what it would be like if the Taliban were making cartoons
I admit, I watched this little cartoon expecting much glee and unintentional humour. It's only six minutes long, no more than a "Tom & Jerry"-clip and it's on YouTube so I didn't expect to loose anything.
Keep in mind, this is brought to you by Ray Comfort, the man who makes a living from trying to convince people that god designed the banana so that you can hold it more 'comfortably' (no pun intended) Let's not bother talking about the artistic quality (the animation makes "My Little Pony" seem like Disney's "Cinderella") and cut right to the chase: Meet "Mr. Nice Guy" (voiced by former child-star and now professional crank Kirk Cameron). He's so nice that he'd be the first in line, presumably after having died, to go to heaven. But he's got dark secrets: Mr. Nice Guy is also a liar, has stolen candy when he was a kid, physically looks at other women and has used the phrase "Oh my god!" in anger.
That's correct. He's a liar, a blasphemer, a thief and an adulterer. Mr. Nice Guy tries to talk himself out by claiming not to be as bad as other people (say, Hitler and the KKK), but the narration will have none of it. After all, we're not talking petty things, but not living "up to god's standards". And there will be no "god will forgive me" for Mr. Nice Guy either. Come Judgement Day, he'll eternally suffer torture that not even the most brilliant producers of splatter-movies would be able imagine. That's the bad news. The god news: subjecting himself to Jesus, obeying the bible and spreading his faith might save Mr. Nice Guy from eternal pain. That's only four of the six minutes; the rest is Kirk Cameron trying to haggle his merchandise (bibles and Comforts books about how Science got it all wrong because, you know, Science is blasphemy).
So why am I bothering to write a review for this tripe? Good question. Better question: Why is this even on IMDb? If this is featured here, why isn't every commercial ever produced, be it for Coca Cola, Budweiser or Snake-Oil-Medication featured? Why not recruiting videos from the middle-east, asking you to join the Taliban, ISIS or Al-Quaida? 0/10
Kottan ermittelt (1976)
The Austrian answer to Inspector Clouseau
By that, I don't mean that "Kottan ermittelt" (eng: "Kottan investigates") has tried to emulate or copy Blake Edwards cult-films. But there are similarities, that are often plain eerie. Major Kottan (played throughout the series by three different actors, first being tragic Peter Vogel, in three episodes by Franz Buchrieser and later still, perhaps in the most popular incarnation, by Lukas Resetarits) is a Major the running gag is that "there is no Inspector Kottan" with the Viennese police, specialized in solving murders. Dependent on the actor, Kottan is either a melancholic misanthrope (Vogel), a cynic (Buchrieser) or a anarchistic nihilist (Resetarits). Kottan lives with his nagging wife and mother, who seems preoccupied to read pulp-fiction crime novellas. Despite being generally lazy, Kottan solves various crimes with the help of his incompetent assistant Schrammel (Curth Anatol Tichy) and the one-legged Schremser (Walter Davy). Kottans nemesis is his boss, police-president Pilch (Harald von Koeppelle, later Kurt Weinzierl), who has elements of a megalomaniac, a phobia of flies, fights a hopeless fight against a coffee-dispenser (that Kottan had installed in the office) and seemingly seems to drift evermore toward insanity.
Having seen my fair share of TV-shows, few have I seen that went through such distinct metamorphosis like "Kottan ermittelt". Originally envisioned as a straight police-drama, the stories quickly took a turn toward the satirical, eventually becoming somewhat of a anarchistic slapstick-comedy. The earliest viewers didn't exactly know where to place this show; some (mainly policemen) even criticized, that "Kottan" depicted the police either as buffoons, nihilistic misanthropes or maniacs. But that soon came to pass and today you'd be hard-pressed to find an Austrian household where "Kottan ermittelt" isn't known or considered a cult-series, second only to "Ein Echter Wiener geht nicht unter". If one had to compare it to an American show, "Sledge Hammer" might come to mind, although "Kottan" seems far less scripted, going more into the direction of anarchistic cabaret. In short, you'd never know what to expect from the next episode, apart from the running-gags themselves, which likewise have gained cult-notoriety.
It is difficult to rate such a diverse TV-show, but if we're talking about satirical, Austrian TV, "Kottan" surely stands somewhere between a 8/10 and (for the fans) a straight 10.
Gruelling, somewhere between reality and boulevard-thinking
If you grew up in Germany during the 1980s, "Christiane F" would seem forever present, no matter where you looked. The film was a mayor hit at the box-office and excerpts from the original novel were made homework in almost all schools. One couldn't open up a boulevard-paper or magazine without coming across horror-stories about yet another youngster that has overdosed in a seedy toilet by the train-station, generally accompanied by a photo of said toilet and corpse (more often than not looking horrible fake). Indeed, most kids that the distinct impression that, should they fall with the wrong crowd and heaven beware ever take a drag from a joint, that they would surely join that ever-growing horde of junkies that seemed to take over the subways like an army of the living dead. At least such was the impression.
First of: those drug-hotspots did exist, they do exist and unless one day some sensible drug-policies are implicated and the politics stop catering to big-business drug-cartels they will exist forevermore. Go to any major train-station between Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin, and you'll find junkies loitering around. And yes, if you look suitable gullible, you'll likely be approached by an 'ex-junkie, freshly sober and clean' who'll request some financial assistance, that will enable him to 'reach a far-off place, where a job is waiting for him or her'. But what you won't find is this seemingly post-apocalyptic scenario that "Christiane F" has painted, simply because it never existed other than in the media and the minds of the people.
One must give kudos to the film and the director: It shows the effect of heavy drug-addiction as realistic and relentless as "Leaving Las Vegas" shows the effect of alcohol-abuse. The horrors of being a junkie, drifting ever further the social-ladder and the descent into addiction, prostitution and eventually death are indeed harrowing. However, when it comes to the subject of the protagonist and the severity of the general problems, more than just some artistic-liberties have been taken.
Unlike the novel and the interviews with (the real) Christiane F, the film neglects to tell us, that Christiane and her friends already come from a severely disturbed, low-class background. Germanys social-system (or if you want, "caste-system") is very rigid, similar to that in the US. "Can't deny your roots" and if you happen to come from a redneck or white trash background, it is very unlikely that all the money in the world will be able to wash that background off.
The movie would like to make us believe that any 'nice girl from next door' can slide down into the living hell of the junkie-world, but that is only half true. True, anybody can get hooked on drugs, be it nicotine, heroin, coffee or the adrenaline rush received from extreme sports. But to become part of this little world of Christiane F (horrible as it may be), it would require an exposure that literally begins at birth.
So, despite all the truth in "Christiane F", one also has to admit that it is vastly exaggerated and, in the context of media-politics (especially in the West) also very manipulative. Look no further than the current anti-drug campaigns, that assure us that smoking marijuana is the beginning of the end (no, marijuana leads to harder drugs like thinking leads to madness). You will no doubt have read about Crystal-Meth, that currently turns a whole generation into an army of toothless, violent zombies. Or about the drug Krokodil looming on the horizon, a drug 50-times as potent as heroin and making the flesh virtually rot off the user's bones. They do exist, Crystal-Meth and/or Krokodil but like most illegal things, they are more detrimental to the individual and not the society.
As much as I cherish "Christiane F" as a movie, it's relentless realism, the excellent actors (both the professionals and the laymen) and not being able to deny that it is one of the most accomplished anti-drug-films of all times, I cannot help to think that it's neither an answer to anything, nor at the essence very much more than a parody (albeit a harrowing one) of the drug-culture and the general situation. As such I can give it no more than 6/10.