Charitable viewers may be inclined to read “In With the New” as a searing examination of male-female relationships among Gen-Xers in the late ’90s. Those with less time on their hands will dismiss it as an occasionally wacky but mostly self-indulgent rantfest about two young Berliners who spend the New Year emotionally abusing each other in a variety of locations. Audiences for this much-ado-about-nothing low-budgeter look limited to the fest faithful.
Romeo (Rolf Peter Kahl), a professional photographer, and his girlfriend, Julia (Marie Zielcke), have a tempestuous relationship centered on screaming matches and frantic bouts of sex. When Romeo gets jealous after a friend pays Julia too much attention, the pair decide to go off to Warsaw to patch up their differences. Nothing of the kind happens: Romeo forces Julia to perform in a peepshow for him, and even on the train back the pair are still going at it like wild animals.
Pic is very Berlin-centric in its rough humor and raw emotions, and though it rarely drags for most of its length thanks to the sheer energy of the performances, there’s a growing sense from the halfway point that this is a movie headed nowhere. The highly photogenic, clear-eyed Zielcke brings some luster to her sex-machine role, and Kahl (who also co-produced) is perfect as her ranting, sex-obsessed partner. But 86 minutes in their company is at least an hour too long. “Silvester” in the original title refers to the German New Year.