A teen girl in 1970's Berlin becomes addicted to heroin. Everything in her life slowly begins to distort and disappear as she befriends a small crew of junkies and falls in love with a drug-... Read allA teen girl in 1970's Berlin becomes addicted to heroin. Everything in her life slowly begins to distort and disappear as she befriends a small crew of junkies and falls in love with a drug-abusing male prostitute.A teen girl in 1970's Berlin becomes addicted to heroin. Everything in her life slowly begins to distort and disappear as she befriends a small crew of junkies and falls in love with a drug-abusing male prostitute.
Based on the accounts of her non-fiction book of the same name the film details the period in which she began experimenting with drugs, such as cannabis and L.S.D, to her initial foray into heroin use and ending with her complete abasement.
Shot with a low budget and employing a large number of first time actors, many of whom chose never to further a career in film, as well as a large number of extras sourced by the production team who were in fact real life junkies and down and outs. These factors alone contribute to the films startling sense of realism and authenticity.
Also, many of the films locations such as the club where Christiane hung out and the nefarious "Zoo" station where young addicts would prostitute themselves are the original locations in which the characters experiences are based, adding further to the films genuine portrayal of the seedy drug scene of West Berlin in the 70's.
The cinematography is bleak and unforgiving and brilliantly captures the barbarous nature of the scene and subject matter. Edels sparse and careful approach gives the piece an almost documentary style and no doubt this unflinching depiction, along with the graphic, perfunctory portrayal of teenage drug abuse contributed to its controversy.
Natja Brunckhorst provides the role of Chritiane and turns an astonishing debut as the heart breaking girl whose life debases to unimaginable depths within such a short space of time. Showing many audiences across Europe that the looming Heroin epidemic was not just confined to older people but also its ruthless and savage affects and how immediate its ravages take place.
This film pulls no punches. Its gritty, no nonsense representation of heroin, and its consequences, are shocking and tragic. The director also manages to take these dissolute children and allow us to view them free of judgement and witness first hand the terrible conditions in which some youths find themselves living within the confines of a so called civilised society. Many a question will arise when watching this film; how, why etc. But its principal aim is to simply allow us a front row seat to a window into a world most of us are hitherto unaccustomed - the nefarious, cruel and grievous life of a teenage addict who ambulates the inevitable path toward prostitution and ultimately burnout.
A great film with fantastic performances and above else, a great soundtrack provided by David Bowie. If you thought Trainspotting back in the late 90's was a shocking film about heroin abuse then this piece will hit you hard because despite its cult status this film is as real and as heart breaking as it gets.
- Jan 3, 2013