Review: ‘Be My Star’

A small but achingly well-observed study of the pains, embarrassments and comic snafus of early teen sexuality, "Be My Star" is a stellar short feature from documaker Valeska Grisebach that portends a promising future for her in the fiction arena as well.

A small but achingly well-observed study of the pains, embarrassments and comic snafus of early teen sexuality, “Be My Star” is a stellar short feature from documaker Valeska Grisebach that portends a promising future for her in the fiction arena as well. Further proof of Austria’s filmmaking renaissance, pic would make a nice double bill with Jessica Hausner’s Cannes discovery “Lovely Rita” in arthouse situations.

Shot on 16mm in a no-frills style, story centers on blond Nicole (Nicole Glaeser), a 14-year-old Berliner whose hormones are just waiting to be tweaked by her first boyfriend. The young guy turns out to be outwardly confident Schoeppi (Christopher Schoeps), whom she invites home one evening (her mother works nights) and for whom she soon declares her love — precipitously, as it turns out. Using non-pros, and investing the film with a low-key humor that springs more from situations than dialogue, Grisebach catches the small but — for teens — earth-shaking moments of emotional development with great care. Blowup to 35mm is OK.

Be My Star

Austria

Production

A PolyFilm release (in Austria) of a Filmakademie Wien (Austria)/Hochschule fur Film & Fernsehen Konrad Wolf (Germany) production. (International sales: Austrian Film Commission, Vienna.) Produced by Anna von Wagner. Directed, written by Valeska Grisebach.

Crew

Camera (color), Bernhard Keller; editor, Anja Jalomonowitz; art director, Betrice Schultz. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Filmmakers of the Present), Aug. 3, 2001. Original title: Mein Stern. Running time: 62 MIN.

With

Nicole Glaeser, Tina Sanoke, Christopher Schoeps, Sebastian Rinka, Monique Glaeser, Jeanine Glaeser.
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