Julia Hummer

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Teenage Review


Weak

Part documentary and part film essay, this movie mixes fact and fiction to explore the concept of the teenager, which didn't exist before World War II. It's fascinating to learn how the idea emerged, and how understanding it has fundamentally changed society. But the film remains resolutely superficial in its approach to history, only briefly dipping beneath the surface right at the very end.

Up until the early 20th century, Western society was made up of adults and children, with nothing in between. But child labour laws changed that, giving young people a taste of freedom and responsibility that became even more important during two world wars and the Great Depression. Rebellious attitudes surged in swing music, and even though adults balked at the idea of giving teens any real independence, the New York Times made it official in 1945 with the publication of a Teen-age Bill of Rights.

All of this is informative and interesting, but filmmaker Wolf interweaves the archival movies with footage he has created in a vintage style. And we can tell something isn't quite right: the character profiles are clearly fictionalised, which makes us wonder how much of the movie we can believe. It certainly doesn't help that these fake young people are token figures: a partying British socialite, a young black American, a member of the Hitler Youth. No matter how much they tell us about the times and places, they remain purely artificial creations.

Continue reading: Teenage Review

Carlos Review


Good
Edited down from the five-and-a-half hour original version (which is also available), this nearly three-hour film still feels like an episodic TV series as it covers two decades in the life of the notorious terrorist. But it's expertly made and very well-acted, and some sequences are sharply involving.

When he enters the pro-Palestine terrorist cause in the early 1970s, Venezuelan-born Ilich Sanchez (Ramirez) takes the name "Carlos". For the next 20 years he's one of the most feared figures in Europe, organising attacks and then hiding out in Yemen, Syria and Sudan, or anywhere else he can find asylum.

From assassinations to bombings to hijackings, he earns his reputation for ruthlessness but also alienates his boss (Kaabour) by refusing to take orders.

Continue reading: Carlos Review

Carlos Trailer


Throughout the 70's and 80's Carlos (Ilich Ramírez Sánchez ) was one of the most well known terrorists in the world. Known for his brutal attitude, he was a serious threat to governments in all countries. His story is one that's covered much ground and seen him play a part in some of the biggest activist and commando groups.

Continue: Carlos Trailer

Perfect Site Review


Good
Perfect Site, aka Tolle Lage, screening as part of San Francisco's 2001 Berlin & Beyond Festival, tells us the story of "Perfect Site," a campground in the woods that attracts a motley crew of people. In Tolle Lage, we follow their tribulations at what is supposed to be the resting area for some of the campers and a permanent residence for others. All of this is presented from the point of view of Pit Sun, a Vietnamese immigrant in Germany, who hates working for his despicable boss, despite involvement with his daughter.

Stuck in the middle of the woods, the place attracts all kinds of low-life drifters: Former East German pop music star Michi Fanselow; an irksome bank clerk Claus who, after robbing his bank division, gets on the nerves of his former supervisor nerves and his disillusioned wife Natasha; a band of bohemian musicians, and Ralf, the owner of the place himself, a pigheaded stingy former NATO employee who still feeds his customers with vacuum-packed cookies from his old NATO days.

Continue reading: Perfect Site Review

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