The Genital Warriors (2014) Poster

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The 70 years old FRANK tries to get back to his ex-girlfriends LENA and BARBARA after 40 years.
soerenhueper1 September 2014
A little masterpiece with a very particular and original style. Whoever dismisses "The Genital Warriors" as a simple love story isn't doing this independent work justice. The film moves wonderfully nimbly through space and time, obliterating modern viewing habits with an unusually mindful sense of style and genre for a debut. This entertaining volatility doesn't even stop at the characters, some of which are played by different actors, a stylistic device that works brilliantly throughout the entire piece and always provides for moments of surprise and amusement. The movie offers loads of variety on the visual level, too: Individual episodes were shot on different formats (black and white, color, Super 8, 16mm, digital…) and combined with each other in a very convincing montage.

"The Genital Warriors" is a colorful bouquet flowers with heart-refreshing thumbnails. Quirky, whimsical and one-of-a-kind. A must-see movie!
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Don't be confused by the title. The rest is even crazier.
denderring18 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Genital warriors? Yup, it's them on their genital warpaths. Utterly crazy, but distinctively plotted; freakish and capricious, but at the same time traceable; paradoxical, but in its own way reasoned. Definitely not a movie for you if you'd still like to be mesmerized by Jack and Rose in Titanic's 200-zillion USD love affair. Hardly a candidate for this year's Oscar shortlist, but who cares? If you have your mind wide open in the finest sense of the word, there's a good chance you'll forget about all of this imperfect world's trials and tribulations for about 90 minutes. It all moves, races, and turns back again; Black becomes white, wrong becomes right, youth senility and then counterclockwise; Masculine becomes feminine and man meets himself just to realize that none of his self really belongs to himself the way he used to think. And all of this despite the fact that (attention, spoiler!) John and Yoko haven't even appeared yet. Let alone their mini-versions, a bunch of freaking crazy terrorists and weird allusions to some of the most recognizable pop-culture clichés. Sound like the synopsis for virtually ANY indie movie? Well, this IS another indie movie in a determinate sense, but it DOES definitely have loads of its own vibe. Maybe it's the Berlin air that for decades has been transforming demure Brits into reckless pioneers of new art with no boundaries or limits, I don't know. I simply had a very good time while watching it (in fact, I did so three times over the course of two days). Of course it has its ups and downs, but what movie hasn't? Surely I'm not one to professionally critique it, I can only express my feelings: It's a kind of cinematic roller-coaster, but with lots of brains under its rails. Take a ride, but remember – do so at your own risk!
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Comparisons are inevitable
mail-101-7811229 September 2014
The Genital Warriors / Die Geschlechtskriegerinnen

Matthew O. L. Way's new movie is about some of the most mysterious subjects human beings are confronted with during their lifetimes: love, emotions, revenge and commemoration. The story starts on a park bench at the River Elbe in Hamburg where the two female main characters, Lena and Barbara (Barbara Nüsse and Marlen Diekhoff), meet by chance and discover that they are both ex-girlfriends of Frank Ewington (Peter Franke), the male and third protagonist.

After Barbara and Lena discover that they have both been lovers and victims of, but also slaves to Frank Ewington, they decide to take revenge.

With a magic wand that enables them to take fascinating journeys through space and time, they visit earlier stages of their lives with and without Frank where they are confronted with their own youths and long forgotten emotions – they eventually manage to meet John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Lena and Barbara's trips into their own minds always begin and end at their park bench, which is the steady center between several story lines that show chapters of their pasts in a racy and diverting way. "The Genital Warriors" is in all its parts and sub-stories a fascinating and mesmerizing film, oscillating between love story, thriller and commedia dell'arte, possessing the complexity of Goethe's "Elective Affinities".

Although comparisons seem insufficient for "The Genital Warriors" because it can hardly be categorized, they are sometimes helpful to locate and check a critic's point of view.

Therefore I would say that "The Genital Warriors", with its unique atmosphere, affectionate details and intelligent dialogues that are somewhere between funny and melancholic, could be placed among the works of Aki Kaurismaki, Lars von Trier, Luis Buñuel or Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

In any case, Lena, Barbara and Frank become good old friends that the spectator never will forget after leaving the cinema.

Dieter Schweinlin, Berlin/Germany
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Human Beings and Men
moliledus20 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As part of this year's Moscow International Film Festival, the Cine Fantom Club showed a lot of interesting cinema, including the amusing and even a bit sentimental movie by Matthew O. L. Way: "The Genital Warriors".

The original title sounds a bit medical – and not without reason: The confused action flows from the screenplay of a patient in a psychiatric hospital. Everything written on his pages is visualized like "unprocessed video stand-up" from the perspective of a crazy old comedian named Frank, with the usual stand-up poetics of free expression .

Inspired by a vivid life lived as a love affair and pervaded by determined attempts to make a film about it, he reflects on "Gender differences in the experience of love and their effect on the career of a film director's organism." This is the guiding principle of everything that happens in the movie. It starts out as a story about the fantastic adventures of two not-so- young women in the past (Lena and Barbara) who meet by chance and find out that they've loved the same man for all their lives – while intermittently directing their attention at his friend Viktor. With a mighty shotgun, they go back in time to annihilate the source of their disease... pardon me... their all-encompassing emotionality. They encounter their adored object (Frank) in a continuous process of filming, while in the present he invites each of them to his film premiere.

Everything becomes so complex that towards the finale, doubts crop up as to the number of co-authors working on this screenplay. The heroes have so many faces – they're constantly doubled and tripled. Young, old, old in a second variation and yet another: several Lenas, Barbaras, Franks and Viktors make up a wild departure from "Being John Malkovich". Maybe the personality of the "original" screenwriter, Frank – whose self- consciousness issues and artistic imagination offer virtually unstoppable flights of fancy that he ultimately reveals to his doctor (who at the same time is Viktor) – is simply split up into multiple personalities. In particular, he highlights episodes in which his older ego meets his younger one. Maybe Frank is inspired by all of the other patients in the psychiatric hospital to create this whole tangled pattern that finally reveals itself as a film in which a movie about love is shot.

Despite the great variety of relationships presented, the bottom line seems to be that the multiple Frank-Viktors and Lena-Barbaras don't feel adequately loved. Some decide to justify their feelings in attempting creative acts of heroism, while others are sad, practice libel and divide the world into human beings and men.

Frank's film also takes the form of a strange sentimental drama in which, as in the eerie "Bugsy Malone", pure and innocent children mime loving adults in an idyllic relationship – the quintessence of love, intimacy and an artistic-creative experience for both sides (men and human beings). For the premiere, all the "egos" get together including these idealized lovers, veterans of the sexual revolution and – if you believe Frank's crazy script – rather flamboyant John and Yoko (a separate, Homeric story features them), who in no time at all become excited by a performance on the topic of war and terrorism.

"The Genital Warriors" by Matthew O. L. Way, and the whole motley crew of funny- reflective Frank-Viktors and dangerous-amorous vixens – Lena-Barbaras – has an amazingly twisted and no less confusing script, but is also a very captivating movie. It seems that the actors very freely – and sometimes going beyond the call of duty – are "having fun" with their adventures in time and emotions – adventures simply and casually supported by shooting different types of cameras. From love to hate, as well as from the county fair to madness, it's basically not very far. According to Way, that's the life style of the warriors among men and human beings.

by Leda Timofeeva, The State Institute of Art Studies, Moscow

From the bimonthly newspaper "Cine Fantom", published just before the 36th Moscow International Film Festival, which began on June 19th, 2014.
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