Wolfgang Herrndorf was one of the best German writers, no-one reached his level of melancholy. In 2010 he released his bestseller “Tschick“, an adventurous story about two teenage boys, who don’t fit into their surrounding and escape. Finally this instant classic comes onto the big screen, realized by the greatest German director of this generation: Fatih Akin. Although this book is declared as a youth novel it’s a book for everyone. The impression of not fitting in or finding the place where I belong never stops, no matter how old you are. The artist Wolfgang Herrndorf always seemed to be that lost and his characters Maik and Tschick seemed to be his Alter Egos. They meet each other in Marzahn, one of Berlin’s hideous suburban districts. The high GDR buildings are a harsh contrast to the one family houses, the cliché of the people is boorish and simple minded.
Bored and the weirdo of his class, Maik, which crazy parents are about to break apart has to deal with his first crush. As the German-Russian boy Tschick enters the classroom, Maik is fascinated and disgusted like everyone else, but he’s the only one, Tschick can relate to. As the big summer starts they escape in a Lada and conquer the Brandenburger “Speckgürtel” around Berlin and, as you expect, they conquer life and become adults.
This novel is one of the best things I ever read and as a suburban Berlin (for god’s sake: not from Marzahn!) I had a lot of pictures in my mind and even smelled the sticky summer and the freedom of a beautiful Brandenburger summer. I understood the teenage loneliness and confusion, but no-one needs to be a Berliner for that.
Is it even possible to realize those imaginations of a certain emotion? It’s not an easy job, but Fatih Akin is a wizard and he did it. He’s a Rock-n-Roll guy who often chooses radical pictures for a sensitive story.
He assumed the job from the also outstanding German director David Wnendt (“Kriegerin”, “Er ist wieder da”), who simply wasn’t the right one. Akin also loved “Tschick” immediately and I guess, that’s what people call a perfect match. Herrndorfs melancholy needed Akin’s passion to make this coming-of-age-bros-story a great adventure in Brandenburg for everyone. The youngsters Anand Batbileg und Tristan Göbel will also conquer your heart: they’re so cute.
The soundtrack includes all the german musicians I am not interested in like the Beatsteaks vs. Dirk von Lowtzow covering a Stereolab classic, Seeed and Beginner. Bilderbuch and Annenmaykantereit are the young musicians a story like this needs and they’re also in.
Fun fact: my friend Mone is part of the stylist-team and she did a great job.