Review: ‘Supermarkt’

DOORS OPEN: 19:30 // FILM STARTS: 20:00 // Q&A: 21:30
The Berlin Film Society is proud to be bringing a classic piece of German cinema back into the limelight… Supermarkt will be screening at the end of the month, with its acclaimed  veteran director Roland Klick hosting a Q&A afterwards. 

“Film + Audience = Cinema.”  This was Klick’s motto, and it shines through in Supermarkt, one of his most accessible films.  There’s no psychedelia here… just a thorough and sympathetic glimpse into the life of Willi (Charly Wierczejewski), a teenaged troublemaker living in Hamburg’s sketchy St. Pauli district. He encounters three influential characters: Frank (Michael Degen), a struggling journalist looking to expose the social injustice from which Willi has emerged; Theo (Walter Kohut), a jaded crook who wants him as a partner in crime; and Monika (Eva Mattes), an endearing prostitute with a young son.  Torn between the complex and vastly different worlds of those around him, Willi’s frustration builds, leading him further and further into a dangerous criminal existence, culminating in his most ambitious act of deviance yet: a supermarket robbery that just might enable his and Monika’s escape from the Reeperbahn once and for all.

In a way, Supermarkt exemplifies Klick’s struggle as a 1970’s “auteur” director.  While it boldly addresses many issues and fears poignant at the time in West Germany, it also feels very much like an American kid-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks crime drama.  It even features a pop-rock ballad (“Celebration”) belted out in English by Marius West.  While many of Klick’s films have become cult classics, his career has been a tug o’ war between accessibility and experimentation.  Yes, he pushes the envelope, but he never forgets the audience for the sake of artistry.  This separates Klick from other New German Cinema directors, for better or worse.  So don’t miss your chance to ask Klick himself a question or two, after enjoying the truly emotional and suspenseful character study that is Supermarkt.

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