© Universal Pictures International Germany GmbH

Fleisch ist mein Gemüse
Germany 2008

Opening 17 Apr 2008

Directed by: Christian Görlitz
Writing credits: Christian Görlitz, Heinz Strunk
Principal actors: Maxim Mehmet, Andreas Schmidt, Oliver Bröcker, Jona Mues, Martin Brauer

Based on an autobiography of the same name, the story tells of Heinz Strunk’s early years in Hamburg-Harburg as a saxophone player in the band Tiffany. The group played pop music for local weddings and parties (e.g., for the Schützenverein or rifle club). They dressed in glittery pink jackets; their band leader, named Gurki (Andreas Schmidt), chats up the audience with stuff like “swing time is good time, good time is better time.” Although eventually quite successful (book, musical, music company), Strunk bemoans his younger years. He suffered terrible acne, his mother (played by Susanne Lothar) suffered psychological illnesses and died; his neighbor committed suicide; he had no money, girlfriends, or car. He lived in a working class neighborhood in a small row house with the most terrible 1980’s wallpaper. Strunk appears in the film as himself to moderate but leaves the portrayal of the 25-year-old Strunk to new actor Maxim Mehmet. Germans obviously like the story, considering that 250,000 books were sold. As for the rest of us, those living in and around Hamburg will recognize villages such as Moorwerder and Neugraben and the grey, rainy, flat landscape. Perhaps we will even relate to the Germans in the film. I would recommend the film just for the pleasure of seeing Maxim Mehmet, who is a Boris-Becker-but-better-looking type. I predict that some day he will be equally famous, although at the moment, Google brings up absolutely nothing except his year of birth: 1975, and he really can play the saxophone. (Becky Tan)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.