Monday, May 26, 2014

Das System, a Film Review!

Director Marc Bauder with Screenwriter Dörte Franke
Los Angeles, CA—I’m a frequent visitor to events put on by the arts arm of the German government.  This time it was at the renowned Goethe-Institut across the street from the Screen Actor’s Guild where I’m a member.
They had a real treat for me lined up.  A screening of a film called Das System and a Q&A with the director Marc Bauder and one of the two screenwriters, Dörte Franke.  Afterwards there was a meet and greet reception. 
The film was a real thriller.  It interposed East Germany’s dark past with modern day corruption.  The unintended protagonist is a 20 year-old boy, Mike Hiller, played by Jacob Matschenz.  Later in the film, through cinematic magic, Hiller returns to play his presumed father, Rolf. 
The young Hiller who survives as a petty criminal,  is sought out by a wealthy fellow, Konrad Böhm played by Bernhard Schütz.  

Böhm is somewhat on a mission to mentor the lad into a "better" life of wealth, intrigue and corruption.  Complicating this mix is the boy’s concerned and suffering mother, Elke Hiller, wonderfully played by Jenny Schily. 
Böhm’s job is that of a professional extortionist/lobbyist who uses embarrassing information from old GDR-STAZI files against bureaucrats to steer government business to unqualified contractors that pay him generous commissions.  

Personal conflicts are present involving Mike’s mother who clearly wants the best for Mike.   Some past secrets move this terrific and easy to follow story along.
The story is well told and an ensemble of great actors working under Marc Bauder’s capable direction brings this unusual white-collar crime story to life.  
If I have a criticism is that this terrific film was not made in English for a wider audience and a chance to compete in the Oscars for more than Best Foreign Film.  English is the default language that bridges the Germans, French, Italians, Spaniards and others.  
Frankly I don’t understand the reluctance of American audiences to learn great languages like German or even watch a sub-titled film. 
If you get a chance to see this film it’s well worth the price of admission! At least buy the DVD!
I see a great future for the young director and screenwriters involved with this film. 
Below is a trailer for the film however unlike the film itself, it’s not subtitled:


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