Berlinale 2017 – Day 3

Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival – Day 3! Georg is a well known music journalist in Vienna who’s able to destroy careers with one review. But as in almost every print team these days an experienced author gets too expensive and so he suddenly lose his job. Totally in shock and a coward he can’t tell the truth too his wife, a very calm psychologist, he pretends to go to the office every day. Hanging around in parks he meets an old buddy with a business idea and things get complicated. But Georg wants revenge and he’s working on it in tiny steps, while his marriage crumbles.

“Wilde Maus/Wild Mouse“ by Josef Hader in Competition

If you’re from Austria, Switzerland or Germany you probably know the specifically humor of Josef Harder. He wrote a lots of novels, is an actor and  a very political cabaret artist and now he made this debut as a director. It’s about the fear of the intellectuals whose professions suddenly don’t seem good enough anymore. It hurts your pride. It happens that much and Hader chose a journalist for that because he knows a lot of people who fell down their thrones. It’s really sad but so funny told. As usual Haders expressions are extra dry and the story is too absurd, but it works. And I also like the look. Snow in the Steiermark, glittering neon lights on a fair.

Sometimes it’s maybe too much whining and self-pity, but it always ends with a hilarious punchline.

Great debut, especially when you keep in mind that he wrote the book, was the editor and the leading man. Hader said that his actors hat lot of space for experimenting and that he turned a lot of ideas into scenes and they did very well with that certain Wiener Schmäh (dialect of Vienna).

“Erase and Forget“ by Andrea Luka Zimmermann in Panorama Documents

This very challenging documentary about the former U.S. Army Special Forces and Vietnam veteran James Gordon ‘Bo‘ Gritz is hard work. Bo inspired film characters like Rambo, he’s an US american legend and soldier through and through. And so he reflects about his job in Afghanistan when thy schooled the freedom fighters for their war against the Soviet Union, how he found his second wife in Vietnam and how he found out that the US government under Ronald Reagan made big drug business with the South Asian Golden Triangle. He’s been a presidential candidate, activist against the Gulf-War, totally pro weapon and a racist. He built up a mormon community, where the “race doesn’t matter“.

It’s strange: he is a killer machine with regrets. He’s a strict soldier on the one hand but on the other side he tells evil strategies to kill the enemy. He lost his father in World War 2 and his grandparents kind of drilled him into patriotism, he is a product of his time and he’s Rambo! First Rambo suffers from PTBS and so did Bo, but instead of healing he channels the new fame and becomes a specialist for even more wars.

Zimmermann worked ten years on her documentary, searching for video snippets and events from his life he never talked really about. It’s hard stuff, really interesting, but very hard to watch. Although I appreciate her choice not to judge him, it’s sometimes hard to take. And so many people die that are in this movie. Interesting experiment.

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