|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 118 Min.|
|FSK:||From 12 years|
Pupil Benjamin (Petr Skvortsov) is convinced: Society is corrupted. Only the Bible offers true salvation. At first his views are smiled at when he refuses to take swimming lessons for religious reasons. But the more Benjamin rebels against his environment, the more aggressive he becomes in his actions. And that does not remain without consequences: He drives his divorced mother (Julia Aug) to madness with his accusations and the school management increasingly buckles before him. Girls will no longer wear bikinis but swimsuits for swimming lessons and condoms will also be banned from organic lessons. Benjamin seems to dazzle everyone with his religiously motivated protest - only one young teacher (Victoria Isakova) resolutely stands in his way…
With "Who Reads the Signs" Kirill Serebrennikov presents a bitterly evil and highly explosive drama that reveals the destructive and dangerous power that emanates from religious fanaticism - no matter what faith. With biting humor and some truly disturbing moments the film also painfully makes clear that the danger doesn't only emanate from the fanatics, but also from the way their environment reacts to it. And here it becomes clear what makes the whole problem so difficult: there seems to be no solution. To break out of misunderstood tolerance towards fanatics, as Benjamin's teachers do, is absolutely wrong. But to shoot back with almost the same aggressiveness as his atheistic teacher does is of no use - on the contrary. It leads rather to a radicalization of fanaticism.
Although Kirill Serebrennikov skilfully combines humorous as well as dramatic moments with each other and thus in places provides for a pleasantly biting lightness, the staging is extremely oppressive precisely because of the clarification of the apparent powerlessness against religious fanaticism. As amusing as the scene in which Benjamin's mother seeks advice from the church may be, with its satirical undertone, it also makes her desperate and a bit angry with her closeness to reality.
However, this is exactly how the film creates something that makes it an enormously important work right now: it inspires reflective reflection and discussion. And he makes clear one thing that too many unfortunately forget again and again: a radical interpretation of religion is not limited to one faith. I'm afraid it's everywhere. No matter whether a religion is peaceful at its core, fanaticism always makes it dangerous. This shows "Who reads the signs" in an intelligent, entertaining, but also disturbing and oppressive way. Even if the film does not offer solutions, it does inspire us to rethink common patterns of behaviour in our society. And therefore there is a very clear one here: Worth seeing!
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