Dirs: Patrick Schuckmann, Stefan Westerwelle. Germany. 2012. 107mins

Lose Your Head

Possibly catering to the crowds frequenting Berlin’s famously or infamously (depends on the point of view) throbbing gay night life, but mostly restricted to them, this English speaking dark escapade ending on a hallucinatory tone, was inspired by the disappearance of a young Portuguese man who came to the German capital a few years back to taste all its illegitimate charms and was never heard of since.

At times it looks almost like a commercial for Berlin’s illicit attractions.

Shot mostly at night with a roving handheld camera which never stands still, replete with night shots delivering painfully grainy images, with a the obligatory pumping disco rhythms in the background and a chaotically improbable script embracing every option in sight from irony to metaphysics, this is ultimately a throwback to all the drug-induced orgies put on screen at different times in the past, to advertise other fashionable scenes of a similar nature. Though at times it looks almost like a commercial for Berlin’s illicit attractions, even in this respect there is very little the city might benefit from this venture.

The plot, which looks improvised every step of the way, has a young Spaniard, Luis (Fernando Tielve) flying into Berlin after having a fight with his boyfriend. His intention is to lose himself in order to find eventually something better and he is certainly served on the spot. Luis, who looks like the proverbial sacrificial lamb, but not a very bright one at that, watches the world through his wide open, innocent eyes, expecting the weirdest surprises and is not disappointed.

Hardly has he landed, that he is already in a discotheque, dancing wildly with a statuesque, bluish wigged amazon, Grit (Samia Chancrin), snorting coke and possibly more dangerous substances as if there is no tomorrow and jumping head-on into a series of adventures that seem to come at him on command.

They involve -  besides Grit and her gang - an Ukrainian called Viktor (Marko Mandic), an illegal resident on the run, with whom he immediately falls in love, and a young Greek woman (Sesede Terziyan) searching for her missing brother, who happens look just like Luis. He also finds himself mixed up in a possible murder case and is mugged by a mysteriously cloaked stranger.

Neither the actors nor their lines are particularly convincing, and the final nod to horror movies doesn’t offer anything to help make some sense of the story. Unless it tries to tell the audience, like Hal Hartley’s Trust did at the time, that only if you trust the person you love, can you indeed lose your old self and gain a new one.  But there must be better ways of saying it.

Production company: Mutter Film

International sales: Mutter Film, www.mutter-film.de

Producer: Michael Schuckmann

Screenplay: Patrick Schuckmann

Cinematography: Julia Daschner

Production designers: Jana Niemesch, Maria Fechner

Music: Freedarich, Touchy Mob

Main cast: Fernando Tielve, Marko Mandic, Sesede Terziyan, Stavros Yagulis, Samia Chancrin, Jonas Berami, Jan Amazigh Sid, Rummelsnuff, Claudia Splitt