|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Production country:||Deutschland 2017|
|Running time:||Approx. 114 min|
In a not-too-distant future, people will be judged solely on merit. Those who cannot perform will be pushed to the fringes of society. At a camp in the mountains, the students of a graduating class are to prove whether they are among the best and will be accepted into one of the highly coveted places at an elite university, or whether they will be denied a life of prosperity. Among the contestants is loner Zach (Jannis Niewöhner), whose withdrawn nature attracts the interest of his classmate Nadesh (Alicia von Rittberg). But when the girl observes Zach meeting an outcast (Emilia Schüle) in the woods, it could mean the end for Zach in the program - and maybe for Nadesh, too. Soon, events spiral until the situation threatens to escalate to in the camp.
Eighty years ago, Hungarian writer Ödön von Horváth published Youth Without God, in which he came to terms with the development of fascism in Germany. This film adaptation by Alain Gsponer (Heidi, Das wahre Leben) has only certain motifs in common with the novel. Screenwriters Alex Buresch and Matthias Pacht have transformed these into an atmospheric dystopia that not only takes a critical look at our meritocracy, but also tackles issues such as the loss of privacy, constant surveillance and the ever-widening gap between rich and poor. The story is told several times, always from different perspectives. Thus, the truth slowly comes together for the viewer like a puzzle. Even if some scenes repeat themselves, boredom never really arises.
Next to the cleverly constructed narrative, the film lives from an oppressive, but somehow also fascinating atmosphere. Especially the discrepancy between the slightly futuristic images in the city, which were shot in Frankfurt, among other places, and the scenes in the rugged mountain landscape make for a very engaging mood. This is also positively supported by the good acting of the actors. Especially the extremely undercooled playing Anna Maria Mühe and Fahri Yardim, who finally gets to show again that he can do more than just comedies, manage to leave a lasting impression.
Sure, some elements of the story seem a bit overdrawn and are arguably clichéd. and also at the end there are some justified points of criticism. But overall, Youth Without God is an extremely suspenseful and superbly directed youth drama that not only entertains well, but also makes you think. Even if at times the sledgehammer method is used for this, the positive aspects of the film are so strong in the end that there is a clear Absolutely worth seeing for this!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp