Fashion Victims, Friday, 8:00. Financial, professional, and personal pressures push fashion salesman Wolfgang Zenker to the edge in Ingo Rasperâ€™s vaguely serious comedy. We can laugh at this manâ€™s self-destruction because heâ€™s such a self-centered jerk, and because our sympathies go towards the people he hurts–primarily his son Karsten (Florian BartholomÃ¤i). The plot has about three too many coincidences, but thatâ€™s not enough to destroy the fun.
Neandertal, Saturday, 5:45. No cavemen here. Ingo Haebâ€™s sets his coming-of-age drama in the town where the famous pre-humanâ€™s bones were first found, and names the movie after the town. Youâ€™re free to add whatever evolutionary symbolism you like to this tale of a 17-year-old boy with a horrible skin condition. Most of the film doesnâ€™t concern itself with the disease (although the scenes that do are not for the squeamish), but with young Guidoâ€™s growing maturity. Disenchanted with his parents (more than are most teenagers, and with good reason), he moves in with his older brother and begins to idolize one of the brotherâ€™s roommates–a young man whoâ€™s hardly a fit role model. Haeb sets his film in 1990, yet the recent fall of the Berlin Wall is barely mentioned. The characters have other problems. All around, an excellent film.
And Along Come Tourists, Sunday, 6:00. Nothing much really happens in Robert Thalheimâ€™s study of a young German in modern Auschwitz. He arrives to spend a year working there to fulfill his civil service obligation. He forms on odd love/hate friendship with an old Holocaust survivor who never left the camp and is now sort of a living museum exhibit. He sort of falls in love with a local girl who speaks fluent German. And he complains that things are too â€œcomplicated.â€ But the movie isnâ€™t complicated enough. And while it earns some points for avoiding obvious clichÃ©s (I canâ€™t tell you what they are without spoilers), its ending still feels contrived.
I’ll try to review one or two more films before the week is over.