Christiane F (1981), or Still Think Drugs Are Cool?

11 05 2009

I never did drugs. Not once. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. Whenever people ask me if I smoke (I have long hair, so everyone assumes I just walked off the set of Dazed And Confused 2) and I tell them no, they give me that look of utter disdain, like I was a piece of gutter trash. Whenever people talk about their cool drug stories, like how they only have one working nostril from all the coke going through their nose, or how they don’t have any protruding veins on their arms anymore because all the good ones have been tapped, I have to sit there like a Pollyanna and giggle like a brain-dead ox. And when all my friends are cleaning their used needles with toilet water in a public bathroom, I always have to be the guy who’s genuinely in there to take a piss! Okay, that last story originated from a scene in my film today, Christiane F, but the rest are true-life experiences; don’t mock me!

Christiane F is a German fictional film shot documentary-style about the famous heroin addict of the same name. It chronicles her transformation from a naive 14 year old girl who dabbles in some drugs to a full-blown heroin junkie and prostitute. Her transformation begins when she hears about a hip new disco called Sound, where all the kids are cool and do lots of drugs. Christiane falls into the wrong crowd and together they go on a drug-addled odyssey into the darkness of addiction. Christiane falls harder and farther than most, and it doesn’t seem like there is much hope in sight for the naive young girl trapped at the Sound club.

This film is brutal. It gives a very up-close look at the world of German hipster junkies that I was not even aware existed. I was prepared for something painful, but I found something much worse here than just pain. We are taken into the bathrooms and the private rooms to shoot up, snort, smoke, and ingest all types of narcotics for some temporary pleasure that quickly morphs into days of misery. The filthy poor teenage drug culture was a very ugly thing, and, ironically, it is the stark portrayal of that culture that lends to this film’s smoldering beauty.

Christiane lives in a repulsive world, trapped between a lonely home life and a dangerous life on the street, and she chooses what she feels to be the lesser of two evils. Everywhere there is a sort of gnawing ennui in her life written on the walls and the floors, and all the drugs do, unbeknown to her, is exacerbate the problem instead of cleanse the wounds of teenage depression. Cracks in the ceilings of the filthy houses dotting Christiane F speak volumes more than simple dialog. There are little snippets everywhere of addled, brilliant poetry, especially in the most obvious place to look for evocative language; the bathroom at Sound.

The dialog is rough, colloquial, and very much German. I didn’t care too much for the dialog, to be honest, but in all fairness I have heard that the DVD English subtitles are mediocre at best, so I have to give it a mulligan on that one. It just seemed unnatural and uninspired to me, but let’s not cry over spilt subtitles.

The acting is unbelievably good, to the point where I was concerned for the actors’ safety. It’s not hard to look like a junkie, but it takes a lot of skill to inhabit a junkie’s skin. Two of the characters in particular, Christiane and her lover Detrev, have to go through some withdrawal symptoms, and I felt a cringe on my face that lasted for minutes while those two tried quitting the stuff on their own. When you would rather see a couple shoot heroin into themselves than see them withdrawal, that is a good performance.

Oh, and David Bowie is in this movie!!! He plays, you guessed it, David Bowie at a club. If you’re a big David Bowie fan, and you don’t mind watching the last sad remnants of his 70s genius slink off of him like a clown costume, I think he has some non ear-melting tracks on the soundtrack, like “Station to Station” and “Heroes”. It’s still depressing to watch the last great era of a legendary artist float away in a heroin withdrawal fantasy, but I still like the guy and I understand he probably had to either put more keyboards in the mix or face a slow death in the Virgin Records dungeons.

I can’t think about this movie too much more or I’ll become very morose. It is an extremely visceral film about the dangers of being sucked into the drug culture too far. Some people make the case that it glamorizes drugs, with the characters and their cool mode of dress, as well as the hipster music they listen to, but after watching Christiane F all the way to the end, I can safely say that I am in NO DANGER of trying drugs. I would rather shave my eyeballs with a rusty tuna can lid than live in Christiane’s shoes for a day. It’s a good movie that anyone interested in German filmmaking should see at least once. I give it 8 Thin White Dukes out of 10! Check it out!

I’m done for tonight!!!!! Finally! Check in tomorrow for my review of Scanners!




6 responses

11 05 2009
Chris Tucker

The film you described sounds similiar to a documentary I saw a couple years ago. Being a heroin addict mysef (almost 3 years clean) this film hit me pretty hard, without me expecting it to. It was called “When Angels Weep”. The documentary covered drug addicts in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It was hard to watch, but I felt that I should continue for my own good. It was a heart wrenching story. Your movie review reminded me of it. Thanks for the blog.

12 05 2009

Well, if it’s even close to as good as this movie, I’m gonna have to watch it. This was pretty mesmerizing, and I want to watch it again sometime soon. Thank you so much for commenting and being honest about a painful moment in your life, as well. It takes a lot of courage to open up about that, so I appreciate your sincerity adding even more gravity to this great picture. Come on by to Houston and I’ll buy you a couple drinks!

Incidentally, you’re not THE Chris Tucker, are you? Because I’ve been writing this script for Rush Hour 4 since 2002, and I’d love for you to take a look at it!!!

12 05 2009
Chris Tucker

I’m not the comedic actor Chris Tucker who happens to be african-american, I’m the unfunny writer Chris Tucker who happens to be pastey white. Are you serious about the script? I couldn’t tell if you were joking or not. I guess it’s easy for me to open up about my past via 3000 miles and various computer screens.

12 05 2009

Am I serious about the Rush Hour 4 script? If only. I would be hanging out with Jackie Chan right now, smoking $100 bills and paying a yoga instructor to pleasure himself while we high-five each other ecstatically. No, I’m afraid not. That will forever remain a pipe-dream. Sorry, folks!!!

12 05 2009

I do perform a lot of writing about films, though, and I know screenplay format, so if you’re seriously interested in making films, I know a thing or two about them and would love to help out you or anyone who wants an opinion or help on a screenplay and doesn’t have a desire to make the next Rush Hour movie (that’s MY project).

25 10 2011
spelbutik på nätet

Just cookes my personal very first cake with regard to grandmas 50th birthday celebration. Sure.

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