|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating - Movie:
|Approx. 131 min.
|From 16 years
|Number of discs:
|German (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 + 5.1)
|Deutsch für Hörgeschädigte, Englisch
|16:9 (1,78:1) 1080/24p
|Audio commentary with director Uli Edel, interview, casting insights
Film: Berlin, mid-1970s: here lives 13-year-old Christiane F. (Natja Brunckhorst) in a dreary high-rise housing estate. Through her friends, she first comes into contact with hash and other illegal drugs. The next, the clique spends the night in the discotheque Sound, where Christiane also consumes harder drugs until she finally becomes addicted to heroin. To finance her addiction, she has to go to Bahnhof Zoo to work the streets, where her boyfriend Detlef also prostitutes himself. A joint attempt at withdrawal fails miserably and the girl gets deeper and deeper into a maelstrom of drugs and prostitution. It is not long before she is also confronted with death in her young years...
Already as a book, "Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo", based on tape transcripts of 15-year-old Christiane talking to Stern reporters Kai Hermann and Horst Rieck, was a huge success. For months, the book was number one on the bestseller list. The film version followed in 1981, attracting almost 5 million moviegoers to German theaters. Even 40 years later, the story has lost none of its relevance and impact. So last year, a new adaptation came to Amazon's Prime Video streaming service in the form of a mini-series. While this reinterpretation certainly had some strengths, it can't match the chilling authenticity of Uli Edel's film.
Because what Edel brought to the screen in 1981 was unadorned, dirty and depressing - and that's precisely why it was so stirring and fascinating. It was a hard break with the German entertainment cinema of the 1970s, which was dominated by so-called "Aufklärungsfilmen", in which schoolgirls skipped across the screens not as junkies, but as love-struck nudies. Edel, on the other hand, portrayed a disillusioned generation that turns away completely from the life plans of their parents and tries to numb their hopelessness with alcohol and drugs.
Almost documentary-like seem some moments here, which increases the intensity of the drama. When the film was released in 1981, I was still a young boy, but I learned a lot about the film and its background through my older siblings. I still remember the feelings triggered by the few images I saw in magazines or on television at the time. I must say that with all the years that have passed since then, that impact has not diminished. It's just that now the view of a youth destroyed by drugs no longer frightens and disturbs me as a child, but as the father of a girl.
At the same time, I realize more today than forty years ago what an important film "Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo" is to this day, which was not celebrated internationally for nothing and opened the doors to Hollywood for Uli Edel, where he directed episodes of cult series such as "Twin Peaks", "Geschichten aus der Gruft" or "OZ- Hölle hinter Gittern", among others. Incredibly heavy fare and a film that hits its audience with full force in the pit of the stomach, which then also lingers for a very long time - and a film that still seems very current in 2022 and works really well. Therefore, quite clearly: absolutely worth seeing!
Picture + Sound: The newly made 4K scanning of the film is quite noticeable. While the age of the source material can't be completely denied, the bottom line is that the picture quality is really great. Shots are often dark, but a high level of image sharpness is still apparent. Slight blurring can be discerned when the camera moves faster. The color scheme looks very authentic in its reduction and underlines the atmosphere of the film. The audio is available as a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The dialogues are well understandable in both cases, with the 5.1 mix music and ambient sounds seem more powerful than in the 2.0 variant. Overall, also on a technical level a successful reissue. Good!
Extras: Separate new bonus material has been produced for this reissue. It starts with an extensive interview with Natja Brunckhorst. The then leading actress, who today works not only as an actress but also as a filmmaker, tells very openly how she got the role and experienced the filming. (27:03 min.). There's also a look at the original casting footage (5:03 min), as well as the original trailer.
But the most interesting extra is a newly recorded audio commentary with director Uli Edel, moderated by Marcus Stiglegger and Stefan Jung. The two presenters have written a book in which Edel's film also plays a central role. Together, the three men talk at length about the background and making of the film, with Edel revealing some really interesting details. For example, the story of how David Bowie became part of the film and how the concert scenes were partly shot during a concert by the band AC/DC is very exciting. A really worth listening commentary for all who are interested in the film and in German cinema history.
Conclusion: "Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo" is shocking, stirring and absolutely fascinating, especially from a cinematic point of view, even after more than 40 years. The reissue presents the film in very good picture and sound quality and also offers newly produced bonus material, where especially the very interesting audio commentary stands out. No light fare, but still: Absolutely recommended!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp