Opening 23 Apr 2009
Adolescent boys are the same everywhere in their search for friendship and their niche in life, even in Schalenstedt, Schleswig-Holstein, in 1984. The small village surrounded by idyllic farms and fields doesn’t have the crime, violence, and drug scene of the big city “hood,” but Malte, Fliegevogel, Flo, Sid, Piekmeier and Günn, who live there, still must come to terms with reality and grow up. As punks they fight with neo-Nazis, drink, smoke and attempt to impress girls with their sexual prowess. In reality they are insecure country blokes who talk big while sitting around a campfire in the woods, driving a tractor, playing with a dog, and rowing a rubber boat on the Baltic Sea. Malte (Cecil von Renner) persuades them to form a punk rock band. He changes his name, appropriately, to Roddy Dangerblatt and they perform in school gyms, disastrously.
Director Lars Jessen said, “Even today provincial youth identify with that feeling of being out of fashion and not belonging to the in-group. It’s a tangible sensation for those outsiders, and the internet cannot change that.” Hamburgers will appreciate the sea and the flat countryside filmed during one beautiful summer in Lütjenburg and Hohwachter Bay in northern Germany. Fresh new actors, e.g., von Renner, Ole Fischer, Daniel Michel and Samuel Auer as well as Piet Bukowski and Laszlo Horwitz might not ring any bells of recognition now, but all have the potential to become German film stars, especially von Renner, who actually is much too pretty and blond to play a believable punk. Rocko Shamoni wrote the book, and the film premiered at the 2009 Berlinale. (Becky Tan)