the divided city
The large cast of characters in this lively German feature provides a rough cross-section of a malcontent society in transit: corrupt policemen, cynical young prostitutes, illegal Lebanese aliens, delinquent runaway children, and Zischke himself: a sullen but self-reliant teenage cartoonist abandoned by his mother when she follows her American GI boyfriend back to the land of milk and honey across the Atlantic. Is it any wonder that a city with such a chronic identity problem as pre-unification Berlin would be inhabited by a shifting population of rootless, restless souls? Everyone here is vaguely dissatisfied and desperate for some way (any way) out, which soon arrives in the coveted form of two forged passports. The production benefits from some youthful enthusiasm on both sides of the camera, but there isn't much substance behind all the attractive black and white photography. And the script is fatally overwritten, introducing so many peripheral subplots that the final resolution can't help but seem anticlimactic.
- Jan 17, 2011
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