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The Devil of Kreuzberg - Carnie Film Production Print E-mail
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 03 May 2018
Severed Cinema Review of The Devil of Kreuzberg from Carnie Film Production

SEVERED CINEMA REVIEW OF THE DEVIL OF KREUZBERG

AKA: Ein Schφner Film

Directed by: Alexander Bakshaev
Written by: Pippo Schund
Produced by: Alexander Bakshaev, Raymond Miller, Mathis Vogel
Editing by: Mathis Vogel
Music by: Alexander Zhemchuzhinikov
Cast: Sandra Bourdonnec, Miguel Sepreny, Sofia Velasquez, Jennifer Brigant
Year: 2015
Country: Germany
Language: German (English subtitles)
Runtime: 42min

Studio: Yellow Bag Films
Distributor: Carnie Film Production

 

It's quite unfair I suppose, yet every time I watch a German film, horror, drama, art, etcetera, I straight away find myself thinking of Jorg Buttgereit. He is one of my ultimate favourite creators of movies, so I guess there's no getting away from it. However, I don't find myself thinking of Lucio Fulci when I watch an Italian flick, and I certainly didn't have, say, David Cronenberg popping into my head a few evenings ago when I watched The Autopsy of Jane Doe (now that would have been creepier still).

Well, to be honest I think a lot of German moviemakers carry that sense of dread and decay in their works. I don't know, it's a certain aura that envelopes the scenes, but I reckon sometimes it has to be the music. So welcome to Alexander Bakshaev's world (the first of a couple of films I'll be reviewing from his archives) with the short, The Devil of Kreuzberg.

Definitely the music! A combination of Buttgeriet's soundtracks and, interesting enough, Jim Jarmusch's, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, plus a load of electronic ‘80s stuff later. Cult movie royalty already. We open proceedings with a sinister looking bloke hanging around a red light district, then to a loving couple. Jakob is a writer and holds that air of 'I am of a superior intellect' around himself. “I've never met anyone like you.” says Linda as she snuggles into his shoulder to shelter from the cold night. “I know.” he replies. See what I mean?

Another couple are in their apartment as she reads. They speak in heavily accented English. Blimey she's a bit demanding. After they tease one another a bit, she says, “Do me some tea.” Then when he's nipping out, “Fetch me some cigarettes.” She best be getting her mouth ready to thank him a certain way when he returns. Hehehe.

In conversation he did mention he had done a one off job “for the mafia.” As he leaves the apartment, the man we saw at the start, Kurt, is waiting on the staircase levelling a gun at him. One bloodless shot later, she rushes out, cradling her dead partner. The soundtrack has switched quite brilliantly to a kind of ‘70s Italian mob movie tune. Loving it! She runs at the assassin, timidly beating her fists on his chest. He shoves her aside and heads off.

Jakob dreams he suffers a violent death at the hands of Linda, whilst arty cutaways boost the scene. It's not the first time he's had a dream of this kind we realise as he tells Linda, “I need to be alone.” She sits by herself and says, “Jakob, have you forgotten how happy we used to be?” Cue smoky red lit hugs and kisses as she recalls. Linda goes to speak with a statue within a cemetery.

“It's been a while since you came here last.” says the statue. Linda kneels before it. “A lot's happened,” she replies and explains all about Jakob's nightmares. The statue isn't too sympathetic, informing her how she is a Karnstein, how she must kill Jakob soon then return to the fog. Linda is angry at this, for she truly loves Jakob.

Kurt meets up with Jakob in a cafι, looking a bit like Damon Albarn in Blur, circa mid to late ‘90s. They walk along like lovers and Jakob tells Kurt he wants Linda dead. “As long as she is alive I won't be able to sleep.” Kurt appears to be rather shocked by this revelation.

Afterwards, Kurt has to go to work, chasing his latest target – played by the director himself, around a multi-storey car park. I'm still questioning why, Kurt is a meaty role, no need to go after the director. He threatens the guy, but doesn't pull the trigger.

Afterwards he tells Jakob how he took the money but didn't finish the job. “I didn't write the book either.” shrugs Jakob. “What do we do?” Insert a five minute drunken electronic dance sequence involving both men!

“I'm trapped in an endless nightmare.” Jakob confides, “Linda is the Devil.” Kurt just sees his pal is drunk. “She loves you.” he says. However, the twisted dreams carry on regardless, driving Jakob deeper and deeper into paranoia and madness. Enough is enough, he demands and emotionally blackmails his best friend, Kurt into killing Linda.

Of course, neither man knows who she really is…

The Devil of Kreuzberg moves fluidly like a dream. One scene pours itself into the next. The actor who plays Kurt (who has since distanced himself from the film) is spot on. He gets top points as well for looking like Stephen Rea in the 1992 movie, The Crying Game. As a matter of fact, everybody in the central roles perform wonderfully. Sandra Bourdonnec nails the torn apart personality of Linda to a tee.

The Devil of Kreuzberg has a distinct old school feel to it. It doesn't rush along, paces itself, and allows the characters to exist before kicking in the action. I felt like the man behind it has watched a lot of ‘70s crime movies such as Get Carter, Villain, and The Big Racket, whilst dreaming up the angles and locations. For the dreams he's gotta have studied some of the era's horror films.

This is a cerebral story that is well plotted and delivers all the goods, except any blood. So it's a zero on the gore score. The transgression of Linda Karnstein from loving girlfriend, to accepting the curse of her family’s generations, keeps the tale going alongside its other plotlines.

Recommended if you fancy a well-acted thrill ride which doesn't hang about attempting to be too over-the-top and brings along much beauty.

 

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 RATING:
 MOVIE: 1 
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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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