Wild Young Minds: Oh boy - an ode to Berlin

Friday, June 28, 2013

Oh boy - an ode to Berlin

'Oh boy, what a film!' isn't something logical to say about this German 2012 arthouse film. What definitely is logical to say about this film is: intriguing, funny, tragic, authentic and good. In my opinion those are most certainly words a film maker can be proud of. Jan-Ole Gerster made this small film - which is in black and white and shot entirely in Berlin - a film definitely worth seeing. Especially if you love art and small but moving films.

'Oh boy' is one day and one night in the life of Niko, a young guy who spends his life doing nothing - just trying to find a cup of coffee which seems to be impossible that particular day. The film begins with Niko moving in a new flat, having mixed emotions about his girlfriend and having his driving licence taken away because of too much alcohol in his blood. Everything seems to go wrong. He wants to buy a metro ticket, but the machine doesn't work. He tries to take money from the ATM, but the machine refuses and swallos his card. He tries to have coffee everywhere - on a film set, in a coffee bar, the wrong time of the day, etc. When he wants help from his father, it turns out his father has given him college money for 2 years though Niko quitted his study two years ago already.

Because of the huge amount of trouble in this film, you might have gotten the idea that it's depressing and pessimistic. Well, let me tell you, it isn't at all. Niko strolls around Berlin all day and has the craziets meetings. In his flat, he meets his neighbour who tells him his entire life story and starts crying. In a café (where he is with his best friend), he meets an old classmate: Julika, who used to have obesity but turned out to be an avant-garde actress. She always had a crush on him and wants to have sex with him in a toilet, but this is all too much for Niko. Another stranger worth-mentioning is the old man he meets in a bar. The man tells him about the war, about his childhood in Berlin and about a curious event that happened to him. The entire day Niko has the feeling he meets the weirdest people, but wonders if it's about him - maybe he's weird and it's him who provokes the misery...

'Oh boy' deals with an average boy who doesn't want to grow up. It seems to be something more and more common these days. Twenty-somethings (love that term) who don't know what they want and who they want to be. In his father's eyes Niko is a sloth, a lazy asshole and a lay-about. All because of his own attitude. Niko's father has every right to think this, but somehow Niko has this thing where we can all relate to. He's lost but we feel sorry for him, because he is so sympathic. Niko is the symbol of a generation, who are forced to do what their parents want them to do (with a few exceptions, including myself) but want to follow their own heart eventually.
Daily occurings and strange meetings are shown in a humoristic and light-hearted way. Maybe it's because it all seems so imaginable - after all, the things that happen to Niko can happen to all of us - that this film is so inspiring. Add a couple of talented actors (especially Friederike Kempter, who plays Julika), an amazing soundtrack (a lot of jazz but also a bit of indiefolk) and beautiful shots of Berlin and you have yourself a must-see arthouse film. What are you waiting for? ;)

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