Ich oder du (1984)

Ich oder du [literally: I or You]
Director: Dieter Berner
Writer: Dieter Berner, Peter Mazzuchelli
Cast: Beate Finckh, Hansi Lang, Karl Kröpfl, Johannes Weidinger, Wolfgang Ambros, Hilde Berger, Bobby Prem, Helmut Vinaccia, Rainer Egger
Seen on: 7.2.2021

Content Note: domestic violence, abuse

Christina (Beate Finckh) is dating Robert (Hansi Lang), a singer of local renoun. But he is volatile – addicted to drugs and prone to violence. It seems to come as no surprise that Christina feels also drawn to Franz (Karl Kröpfl) who appears Robert’s opposite in every way: a young farmer to Robert’s city flair, he is much more grounded. Franz is also smitten with Christina. But whether Robert and Christina can give each other up so easily is a different question.

Ich oder du is an exhausting film that seems mostly built around Hansi Lang (a rather famous-at-the-time-and-place musician) and his star appeal – and I have to say that he didn’t appeal all that much to me, and so the film did neither.

The film poster showing Robert (Hansi Lang) and several film stills arranged like the photos from a photobooth.

I was not really familiar with Lang and his music before this film, but I have to admit that it was pretty much the best thing for me about the film. It is definitely very 80s and that may not be up your alley, but I did enjoy it – the melodies are catchy and stylish.

But the music alone isn’t enough to carry this film, but the film almost feels like a musical, it centers the music so much. Even more than the music, though, it seems obsessed with the man behind it and relies on the assumption that the audience will feel equally fascinated with him and the character he plays as the filmmakers apparently were.

Robert (Hansi Lang) pointing a gun at someone or something.

The problem is: I wasn’t. Not even in the slightest. Robert is such a male vision of what makes a cool guy, I really struggled with understanding why Christina would feel drawn to him in the first place, much less stay with him. Especially since he is not just “not a great dude”, he is violent and abusive, he steals from her and generally treats her like shit and I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were somewhere supposed to think him a tragic figure. No, thank you. Not that Franz is all that much better. I mean, he is the male vision of a nice guy. Obsessed with “saving the girl” while never really seeing her as a person. Ugh. He just gets a lot less attention by the film. Though still more than Christina, who seems only there so the two men have something to fight about.

And this wasn’t the film’s only problem. Rather early on in the film there is a car accident and I am still wondering what was up with that scene and why it was there at all. Maybe I had already checked out of the film at that point, maybe I never really checked in, but that crash that came out of nowhere, went nowhere and was never talked about again? That seems pretty symbolic for this film on the whole.

Robert (Hansi Lang) sitting with a defiant stare.

Summarizing: Skip it.

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