Francis, 30-year-old refugee is the sole survivor of a boat which crossed the Mediterranean illegally from West Africa. When he wakes up on a beach in the south of Europe, he is determined to live a regular, decent life from now on. But he winds up in present-day Berlin where a stateless person without a work permit is treated just as mercilessly. He initially resists an offer to deal drugs in Hasenheide park, but then comes under the influence of Reinhold, his neurotic, sex-addicted pal, a drug dealer and human trafficker who takes him in. He is a man born to destroy the people around. When he meets club owner Eva and, after several dramatic experiences, the escort girl Mieze, he feels he's found something for the first time, something he's never known before: a little bit of happiness.Written by
The story follows the rise and fall of Francis (Welket Bungué), a refugee who tries to be a good man while earning a living in a wealthy country suppressing the options to do so. He is soon approached by a drug dealer (Albrecht Schuch) offering what seems to be a way out of his misery. Thus, the tragedy unfolds.
Burhan Qurbani's handwriting as a director has significantly improved over the course of his now three feature-length films. And now he has delivered a masterpiece. The film manages to combine elements of hyper-realism with poetic moments, strengthening each other's impact. The music is sometimes subtle, sometimes loud, and always on point. The actors' delivery is gripping and powerful. The story itself is an adaptation of Döblin's masterpiece novel of the same name. It is fittingly transferred into current day Berlin, and - while staying true to the novel's intent - it is told in a far more concise manner to suit its format.
I actually hate movies longer than 100 minutes, but due to its separation into 5 chapters Qurbani somehow managed to not annoy or bore me for a second.
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