Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Little Bastard

Kleines Arschloch; animated black grotesque, Germany, 1997; D: Michael Schaack, Veit Vollmer, S: Ilona Schulz, Arne Elsholtz, Helge Schneider, Kathrin Ackerman, Claudia Lössl

The little bastard is 12 years old and writes memoirs into his diary. When he catches mom and dad during intercourse he is not surprised at all; he hardly speaks with his sister, together with grandpa in wheelchair he exchanges mischief; he is a member of a teen rock group whom he persuades to perform dressed in Muslim clothes in front of neo-Nazis; he goes to a radio station and a hospital and disturbs people there; he takes the neighbor's dog for a walk and molests him; for biology class, he speaks about genitals. But he is in love with the old lady Inge (76) and tries to seduce her, and when she dies from a heart attacks he continues to live on normally. During a school performance, he puts drugs into people's drinks which causes them to strip naked and demonstrate in front of the church until the police shows up and arrests them all.

"The Little Bastard" tells a story about a provocative boy but it is made without inspiration or care, and at some moments it seems as if it was written by a complete idiot. That animated farce captured, it seems, the low point of German cinema and despite all of its off beat-unusual setting it is only rarely funny (and more just harrasful) and sometimes frighteningly negative, til the point of 'dead humor'. Still, it has some charm: when the boy accidentally spots his sister naked, and she covers herself from shame, he just says her: "You don't have to be ashamed, I'm your brother and don't intend to regard you as an object of sexual desire", while the main stand-out subplot is the one where he is truly, without any sarcasm, in love with a 75-year old lady and dreams about her - who knows how the movie could have turned out to be if it took a different path and made the main plot out of it? Maybe a new "Harold and Maude". Unfortunately, it did not, and thus just satisfied itself with performing only between two levels: from crude humor to vulgar humor. The best job was done by the two brilliant German voice actors, Arne Elsholtz as dad, and Claudia Lossl as the sister. You can listen to their harmonic voices all day long.


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