Matteo (Benjamin Lutzke) is not a bad kid, but he’s been getting into trouble and the relationship with his parents is not good. After another incident, Matteo finds himself practically kidnapped and carried off to a remote farm in the mountains where he is supposed to figure things and himself out by working hard and being removed from the troubles of the big city. But things don’t really turn out as expected.
Chrieg tells an extreme story in a realistic way. It’s engaging and very well made and especially for somebody like me who works with kids.
The concept of having troublesome teenagers work hard physically to help them cope with their social and/or psychological issues. It’s a concept not without its worth – under the right circumstances. In Chrieg, we see what happens when the circumstances are incredibly not right. It’s a thought experiment thought through to the bitter end.
And even though it is extreme, as such a thought experiment is wont to be, Jaquemet manages to keep it feeling entirely grounded. It’s not an overblown worst case scenario, it is a realistic one – and one that can teach everybody who works with kids a thing or two. And in the end, things are left very open, in a good way – I was really itching to know what would happen next.
They found a very impressive cast. Ella Rumpf keeps showing up in things and being awesome and that’s also what happens here. But also the other kids were really strong. Apparently they found their cast among local teenagers who have more or less the same background as the kids in the film, so double kudos for that.
Jaquemet made his film calmly and with a sense of intimacy that refrains from judging the kids. It is definitely not an easy film to watch, but it is very much worth it.
Summarizing: Very strong.