Sunday, 12 July 2015
Oh Boy (4 Stars)
This is a story of alienation in the big city, in this case the city of Berlin. 25-year-old Niko stumbles around the city, meeting people, friends and strangers, as he tries to get a cup of coffee. The film is appropriately filmed in black and white to intensify the effect. We shouldn't blame it all on the city. It's also Niko's fault. He's unable to complete anything he starts, whether it's learning to play the trumpet, a law degree or a relationship.
Despite being the first film made by the director Jan Ole Gerster, the film made a big impression on film critics. At the 2013 German Film Awards it won six awards (Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Music). Does the film have a message? If it does, I must have missed it. It's a film that encourages the viewer to ask questions, but it doesn't offer any answers.
Today we're used to seeing Berlin as the dazzling, multi-coloured biggest party city in the world. The Berlin shown us in "Oh Boy" is dark and dismal. That's probably the only Berlin that many of its residents see.
The film has been released in America as "A Coffee in Berlin". It's worth checking out, if you're adventurous enough to try out a different sort of film.