The second day of the Berlinale started with the new work of Rosa von Praunheim „Härte – Tough Love“. It is the story of Andreas Marquardt, a master in karate and an ex pimp, who was very dangerous and well-known for his brutality against men and especially women. As a child, his father tried to kill him and he got sexually abused by his mother over seven years.
While his imprisonment, he started a therapy and wrote his biography, the basis for von Praunheims film. It’s a hybrid between feature film and documentary, the flashbacks are in black and white and recorded, for the first time, with professional actors. The documentary parts show and old athletic man, who just tells his disturbing life story, how bad he treated women, especially the one he loved so much and worked for him as a prostitute: Marion. When she tells her story, it’s sometimes hard to understand, how she can stay with someone like him.
Hanno Koffler, who already impressed in „Freier Fall“, impersonates the ice-cold and furious guy, he really scared me. Katy Karrenbauer plays the intrusive mother, who molests her son year over year. Andreas Marquardt said, that her face and the moments of sexual intercourse are carved into his brain and that he will never forget them and never forgive her and Rosa von Praunheim made this scenes as simple but intense as possible and I’m not sure if I will ever forget those scenes. Karrenbauer said, that she needed to play this woman, because we don’t talk about pedophile mothers that much and that people often think, that a child boy can’t get a boner, but there are many ways and things to penetrate someone (thank you for that trauma, by the way) and that we shouldn’t forget that boys also are victims. Marquardt now owns a sport school in Berlin Neukölln, where he teaches kids Karate, because he wants to protect every child and make them stronger.
The movie is really hard stuff, but it makes you think a lot about how to judge about people, if it’s even possible to have a opinion about everything and about second chances. Marquardt is a really nice guy now, he treats his Marion very well and he is totally aware that he maybe ruined a lot of women’s lives and he you see that he’s heartbroken. Rosa von Praunheim said, that he sometimes thought, that the old Andreas will come back, but never didi and that he simply cannot understand this dark side of Marquardt, because everybody liked him so much.
It’s an intense movie and its pictures are sometimes impossible o bear, but it’s a must-see
„Queen of the desert“
Werner Herzogs new work is about the British adventurist Gertrude Bell, who explored the deserts and the beduins before the First World War started and later helped Lawrence of Arabia to define the borders and areas in the arabic world.Again a story about an independent woman in the early 1900, but in another extreme landscape. The young woman (Nicole Kidman) wants to break out of her British noble home and so her father sends her to Teheran, where she lives at the embassy and gets to know a young man, Henry Cadogan (James Franco) and so the pathetic story begins.
It may be a little bit discriminating, but trying to tell me, that Nicole Kidman is a young woman doesn’t work. She’s a good actress (again), but… And than there’s James Franco and he seems to be high as fuck, he’s grinning the whole time. The love story is full of arabic poetry and, unfortunately, clichés. And then there’s this card trick, the moment „that symbolizes the erotic passion between them“ (Werner Herzog): the people where laughing a few minutes, a lot of them left the room. But she’s not allowed to marry him, goes back to Great Britain to convince her father and he commits suicide and „her heart doesn’t belong to anyone anymore, it belongs to the desert“. The scenes in the desert are simply beautiful, you really fall into wanderlust, but still: stereotypes under every turban. She meets a lot of sheikhs, always under dangerous circumstances, but she always impresses everyone with her courage. British officers are annoyed of her adventures, because she always hurts borders. And out of nowhere, there’s a man again, who loves her and tadaa- she’s able to love again… after a long trip through the desert. But, well, he’s married and the First World War starts.
Don’t get me wrong, I think, this woman was a real tough cookie, but there’s always a man needed as a motor to begin and to end something. It’s not possible to love and to be with her although she’s on the road the whole time and in the end, that’s what stays of this movie. Nicole Kidman’s performance was solid, I am so happy, that her face is able to do these things again and she’s simply beautiful.
The press conference was funny, because they talked about the special energy between Nicole and James and how much everybody can feel the passion (nope) and that they would go anywhere for Werner Herzog. His photography is impressing. And that Nicole begged Herzog to make the bathtub-scene, because „that’s how she felt closer to Gertrude“.
So: The pictures are needed to be seen in a movie theatre, but the story is more like a Sunday on the couch.