Black Sheep

Black Sheep


Reviewed by: George Williamson

Sometimes a film doesn't need clever plot twists, lives connected by chance meetings, a barely concealed religious subtext or pretentious delusions of grandeur. Sometimes all you need are great characters, good jokes, and plenty of bodily fluids.

Black sheep tells five concurrent tales linked only by their setting, 21st century Berlin. The first concerns Boris, a hand model turned conman desperate to go straight and live a life of erotic experimentation with Nadja, the beautiful lady from Vogue. The only problem is that he's skint, but that's nothing that can't be fixed by insurance fraud after a wee bit of axe based finger pruning.

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The second story tells of Charlotte the tour barge announcer and her alcoholic boyfriend Peter who - through verbal and bile based abuse - consistantly sabotages her attempts to impress a former classmate and her posh husband.

In another zone we join Ali and his mates. They're horny as hell and desparate for anything warm, wet and concave. Unfortunately after a series of brutal mishaps they end up beaten, in debt and floating in a lake, hopped up on rhino tranquilizers - I hate it when that happens. Julian and Belin have a relatively mundane story of cannabis, anarchic hippy communes, gay artists and accidental anal leakage - it's hardly worth telling.

Last, but by no means least, we meet Fred the Satanist and his pointy haired sidekick Arnold. Today they're planning to ruin a happy clappy cult's performance, anally violate a relative, and feed the budgie. It's hard work being evil.

This is not an easy film to describe without making it sound like it's halfway to a snuff movie; on watching it's more like American Pie (without the prudish American restrictions) in the visual style of À Bout de Souffle. The result is a beautiful mess, a glorious shambles of bad taste and street humour, an exploration of youth culture in a city that eats, breathes and shits stories. Criticism could be levelled at the crude humour, juvenile tone, and occasional weak performances, but really to do so would miss the point - this film is about anarchic entertainment not life changing cinema.

Black Sheep is not big or particularly clever, but it is great fun and a cult hit waiting to happen.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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Five stories of bad taste and humour on the streets of Berlin.

Director: Oliver Rihs

Writer: Thomas Hess, Michael Sauter, Daniel Young, Jann Preuss, David Keller, Oliver Rihs, Olivier Kolb

Starring: Marc Hosemann, Barbara Kowa, Bruno Cathomas, Jule Bowe, Milan Peschel, Jenny Deimling, Robert Lohr, Michael Kinkel, Robert Stadlober, Tom Schilling, Daniel Krauss, Beat Marti, Kirk Kirchberger, Daniel Zillmann, Helga Senk, Eralp Uzun, Richard Hanschmann

Year: 2006

Runtime: 94 minutes

Country: Germany


EIFF 2006

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