Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Verschwende deine Jugend (5 Stars)

The title of this film means "Throw your youth away". It's named after a song by the German new wave group DAF, whose music is featured heavily in the film.

When Harry Pritzel was 17 he went to Hamburg in his summer holidays. While there he went to a concert by DAF which changed his life. It was music like he had never heard before. It was nothing like the dull hit songs that older people listened to and the 1970's hippy songs that young Germans listened to. The music was fresh and exciting, and most of all it was in German. When Harry went back home to Munich he tried to become a musician himself, but he soon realised that he had no talent.

One year later it's 1981. Harry leaves school and starts an apprenticeship in a bank. But his passion is still for music. His friends have formed a group called Apollo Schwabing, and Harry is their manager. He wants to promote the group, so he arranges a big festival in a circus tent. DAF are the main act with Apollo Schwabing and a few other local bands as support. The trouble is that he arranges the festival without contacting DAF first. The posters are hanging all over the city and hundreds of tickets have been sold, but when he finally reaches DAF they don't want to perform.

This film, which has unfortunately never been released in English, is amazing in so many different ways. First of all the soundtrack is incredible. Apart from the songs by DAF there are songs by many groups of the early 1980's, such as XTC, Human League and the Cure. The atmosphere of the 1980's in Munich is reproduced perfectly. We see the clash between the dull residential city and the vibrant underground music scene. This was something new for Germany. The punk movement of the late 1970's passed Germany by. (Punk didn't reach Germany until later, and it's now more popular in Germany than in England). The early 1980's was the emergence of an exciting German music scene, heavily influenced by the underground electronic music of the 1970's. Then there's the acting by the young people in the lead roles.

This is yet another film that I would hold high as an example of the quality of German cinema. It's perfect in every way.

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