Review: ‘Berlin Stories’

A labored portmanteau film drawn from a theater piece on the divergence between urban development in the new Berlin and the perceived heightening of loneliness among its citizenry, "Berlin Stories" follows three manic young actors grappling with their roles and their surroundings.

A labored portmanteau film drawn from a theater piece on the divergence between urban development in the new Berlin and the perceived heightening of loneliness among its citizenry, “Berlin Stories” follows three manic young actors grappling with their roles and their surroundings. More for the locals than an accessible discourse on the city’s development, pic could get some fest dates but seems destined to live out its life in city of its birth.

Three young directors bring divergent styles to overlapping stories of thesps Marlon (Richard Kropf), Lizzy (Inga Busch) and Ohboy (David Scheller), singled out from a trio of ensembles and followed as they attempt to both grow into their parts and deal with the rapid changes in urban Berlin. Cumulative effect is chaotic and strained, similar to apparently plotless source piece by Rene Pollesch, who plays himself. Tech credits match scruffiness of material. Original title is taken from the play’s name, “City as Prey.”

Berlin Stories

Germany

Production

A Filmgalerie 451 production. (International sales: Filmgalerie 451, Berlin.) Produced by Frieder Schlaich. Directed, written by Irene von Alberti, Miriam Dehne, Esther Gronenborn, based on the play "City as Prey" by Rene Pollesch.

Crew

Camera (color, Super-16 and MiniDV-to-35mm), Dirk Heuer, Felix Leiberg, Patrick Waldmann; editors, Robert Kummer, Daniela Kinateder; music, various. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 12, 2005. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Inga Busch, Richard Kropf, David Scheller, RP Kahl, Julia Hummer, Rene Pollesch.
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