Be My Star
4 out of 5 starsMein Stern
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
shadows With clear echoes of Larry Clark's work (Kids, Bully), this film uses naturalistic performances and off-handed (yet sharply insightful) camera work in a sometimes uncomfortable way to get under the skin of teenagers. It centres on Nicole (everyone uses their own names), who decides to take Christopher as her boyfriend even though there's no real passion. They are just so eager to be grown up that they enact the courting ritual. Oh and those pesky hormones are driving them as well! Naturally, their relationship isn't a smooth one, as each one betrays the other in a distinct way. Echoing society, parents are virtually absent here; the kids have to get on with learning life lessons themselves.

And how they deal with it is insightful and very clever. Writer-director Grisebach nails romantic angst dead on, with both an accurate portrayal of adolescent relationships and a more universal examination of human behaviour. This is a full-bodied romance, which works on more than one level. These are teens just being teens, and while the style looks like improv, there's serious skill at work as well. As a result, the emotions come through bracingly--awkwardness, humour, relief, tension, pain and most of all loneliness. Grisebach and her gifted cast get well beneath the teen bravado to expose the frailty, solitude and resilience. And from the silly chatter to the heavy confrontations, this small film finds the heart of some big issues.

adult themes and situations 20.Aug.02

dir-scr Valeska Grisebach
with Nicole Glaser, Christopher Schlops, Monique Glaser, Jeanine Glaser, Marcel Eichelberger, Anika Jahn, Nicole Lehmann, Sebastian Rinka, Christina Sandke, Paul Skibbe, Tom Wolf, Daniel Zuhlke
release UK 23.Aug.02
01/Austria 1h05

Bravado. Christopher and Nicole try to be cool even though their romantic woes are eating them up inside...
Showing with the short:
Flora 4 out of 5 stars
This fully formed little film uses stylized imagery, wicked humour and surprisingly well-crafted characters to tell a moving, involving story about a teen girl in Vienna (Penitz) trying to find love in the big bad world. She's in love with the macho man at her dance class, but ends up with the nerdy nice guy instead. And when her parents throw her out of the house things get even more complicated. There's a goofy sense of humour, cleverly capturing the emotional resonance with simple performances and quirky design elements. And underneath, it's surprisingly thoughtful and sad.
[adult themes and situations] 20.Aug.02
dir-scr Jessica Hausner
with Claudia Penitz, Alfred Farkas, Andreas Gotz, Hartha Hans, John F Kutil
97/Austria 27m
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
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2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall