Tschick [Goodbye Berlin] (2016)

Director: Fatih Akin
Writer: Lars Hubrich, Fatih Akin, Hark Bohm
Based on: Wolfgang Herrndorf’s novel
Cast: Tristan Göbel, Anand BatbilegMercedes Müller, Aniya Wendel, Anja Schneider, Uwe Bohm, Udo Samel, Xenia Assenza
Seen on: 12.10.2016

14 year old Maik (Tristan Göbel) is one of those kids who don’t really register and when he does, he’s perceived as weird. His class mate Tschick (Anand Batbileg) on the other hand registers everywhere, despite – or maybe because – rarely showing up in school, and when he does, he’s often drunk. When Maik and Tschick are the only people not invited to the birthday party of popular girl Tanja (Aniya Wendel), Tschick kind of adopts Maik. And even though Maik is uncomfortable at first, when Tschick shows up with an old car and invites Maik to go on an adventure, Maik doesn’t have to think long about the empty summer ahead of him to agree to go along.

Tschick sticks close to the novel it’s based on for the most part which works nicely but also, unfortunately, means that some of the book’s weaknesses are also carried over to the film. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t love it.

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The Cut (2014)

The Cut
Director: Fatih Akin
Writer: Fatih Akin, Mardik Martin
Cast: Tahar Rahim, Simon Abkarian, Makram Khoury, Hindi Zahra, Kevork Malikyan, Bartu Küçükçaglayan, Trine Dyrholm, Moritz Bleibtreu (in a mini-cameo)
Seen on: 15.01.2015

Nazaret (Tahar Rahim) is an Armenian in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. That is not the best place to be an Armenian and as the political situation results in the Armenian Genocide, Nazaret is separated from his family and forced into slavery in the desert, building roads. Against all odds, he survives the ordeal, though he does lose the ability to speak due to getting stabbed in the throat. When the situation allows it, he sets off to find his family again, a search that leads him across the world.

The Armenian Genocide is certainly something that we know very little about in Europe and so films like The Cut are important to give an introduction to the subject. But unfortunately, other than that it didn’t work for me at all.

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New York, I Love You (2009)

New York, I Love You is a collection of short films, bundled together because they are all set in New York. The segments were directed by Fatih Akin, Yvan Attal, Allen Hughes, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman and Brett Ratner, the transitions between the segments by Randall Balsmeyer. And in the various segments there were Justin Bartha, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, James Caan, Hayden Christensen, Julie Christie, Bradley Cooper, Shia LaBeouf, Andy Garcia, Ethan Hawke, John Hurt, Cloris Leachman, Blake Lively, Drea de Matteo, Natalie Portman, Maggie Q, Christina Ricci, Eli Wallach, Robin Wright and Anton Yelchin.
I’ll spare you and me the writers, but they are interesting, too. [Also, do not ask how long this paragraph has taken me to write and link. It is better not known for it shows my obsessive-compulsive qualities.]

A young woman (Emilie Ohana) drives around New York with her video camera, capturing various stories and moments around her.

The single segments deserve their own reviews (mostly) [which I’ll do after the jump] but overall, I have to admit that I was mostly bored during this movie. The stories weren’t connected enough – I expected a more unifying theme – nor were they representative of New York (unless New York barely has any black, hispanic or Asian people and no none-cis gendered, none-hetero persons either). I think most of the segments would have worked beautifully as short films, but bundling them together to one feature film didn’t work out.

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Soul Kitchen (2009)

Soul Kitchen is the newest movie directed by Fatih Akin, starring Adam Bousdoukos, Moritz Bleibtreu and Birol Ünel.

Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) owns a restaurant in Hamburg which iserves only crap to a very limited local audience. His girlfriend Nadine (Pheline Roggan) is moving to China. His brother Illias (Moritz Bleibtreu) needs his confirmation that he works in the restaurant so he gets days off from being in prison to get to work without actually having to work. And finally, Zinos gets a slipped disk trying to lift a dish washer, but unfortunately he doesn’t have insurance.  So, things aren’t going too well.
But then Zinos hires a new cook, Shayn (Birol Ünel). And with that, slowly his whole life is changing.

Soul Kitchen is Akin’s first comedy and I have to say that I’m less than impressed. With a rather formulaic story and a less than convincing actor in the main role, the movie fails to deliver laughs or anything else. Add to that a consentwise dubious at best sex scene and it’s a movie I can’t recommend.

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German Gangstaz

[Look! I am so cool, I don’t need to write ERS.]

So, I watched Chiko. It’s a German movie, set in Hamburg, but focussing on 2nd generation Turkish immigrants. It’s produced by Fatih Akin and directed by Özgür Yildirim.

The story is about Isa, called Chiko (Denis Moschitto), who wants to become a drug dealer. So together with his best friend Tibet (Volkan Özcan), they start to work their way up by beating up drug dealers until they reach Brownie (Moritz Bleibtreu), a big supplier. Brownie is impressed by Chiko’s audacity and gives him a job. But Tibet tries to rip off Brownie, and is found out. Chiko now has to decide between Tibet and Brownie.

Brownie and Tibet
Brownie and Tibet

The movie is very touching, albeit its (graphic) violence and dark story. It’s mostly about friendship and loyalty.

It’s very well written, the dialogues are funny and to the point. And it’s excepitonally well acted, by all of the actors, down to the smallest role.

What left me wondering, was, “Are things really as bad as that? Do I live in such a bubble?”

I would like to say that I liked it, but it’s not a movie to like. It’s a movie to watch, and definitely watch again, it’s a movie where I admire the quality of everything.

It’s not very likeable, but it’s definitely recommended.