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Deutschland/Belgien/Tschechien 2013 - with Yvonne Catterfeld, Maxim Mehmet, Flora Li Thiemann, Devid Striesow, Finn Fiebig ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Genre:Children's film
Direction:Markus Dietrich
Cinema release:24.10.2013
Production country:Deutschland/Belgien/Tschechien 2013
Running time:Approx. 82 min
Rated:From 0 years

In the fall of 1989, ten-year-old Rike (Flora Li Thiemann) from the Brandenburg village of Malkow has no idea of the political changes that will soon change life throughout the GDR. For Rike there is only one problem: her beloved Uncle Mike (Jacob Matschenz) has moved to the West from one day to the next and is unreachable for the girl there. But through her favorite series Spaceship Interspace, Rike comes up with an ingenious idea: she wants to build a device with which she can beam Mike back home. Together with her friends Fabian (Finn Fiebig) and Jonathan (Luca Johannsen) she sets out to put her plan into action. And while her parents (Yvonne Catterfeld and Maxim Mehmet) secretly prepare to flee to the West themselves, the kids spare no danger to get hold of all the necessary parts for their machine. They even manage to escape the ever-watchful Volkspolizist Mauder (Devid Striesow) time and again. But when they are finally ready to launch the beam experiment on 09 November, events take a surprising turn.

With his feature-length debut Sputnik, Markus Dietrich attempts a very ambitious project. He tells the story of German unification as an adventure film for children, relying less on target-group-affine humor than on drama, suspense and ingenuity. In doing so, it actually does everything right: both the roles of the adults and especially those of the children are very well cast. The set is coherent and affectionate. The humor, which is used rather subtly, doesn't aim for the usual fart laughs, but is implemented in a slightly more sophisticated way. And the story itself has many very nice and also original ideas.

The problem, which could also be noticed at the press screening where numerous children attended, is that the dramatic aspects of the story take up too much of the film. During the conversations that Rike's parents have about their planned escape, unfortunately, boredom quickly sets in for the little ones. They want more adventure, a little more wit and pace. As an adult viewer, on the other hand, you find the realization very successful and are convinced that you loved this film as a child - after all, you are convinced with slightly transfigured memories that you yourself have only seen sophisticated children's films and never laughed at flat gags. But then you look around and see lots of increasingly restless children whose laughter is barely audible and who are rather listlessly fidgeting in their cinema seats, and you have to ask yourself whether Sputnik has really succeeded as a children's film in the way that you would like to believe.

No question, Markus Dietrich has directed a very nice film that has its heart in the right place and has commendably tried to challenge its young viewers a bit as well by giving them a real story that isn't all slapstick, quick cuts, awesome 3D roller coaster rides or a cool soundtrack. But unfortunately, there isn't a particularly wide audience for these kinds of children's films, as far too few kids are used to giving a story their full attention for nearly 90 minutes. If Dietrich had taken that into consideration a bit more, dispensed with some longer dialogue scenes and offered a bit more adventure and pace instead, Sputnik might have been a surprise success like Detlev Buck's Hände weg von Mississippi. So, however, the whole thing is well-intentioned, but especially for hyperactive children rather conditionally worth seeing!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "Sputnik (Deutschland/Belgien/Tschechien 2013)"
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