Jan Ole Gerster
Justine von Dohnanyi
Dropout Niko Fisher drifts unobtrusively through life. Jan Ole Gerster debut feature film chronicles one day and night in his turbulent existence. At breakfast he breaks up with his girlfriend, midmorning a psychiatrist diagnoses him with an emotional imbalance when he tries to get his driving licence back after losing it to the drink drive limit. A lunch time meeting with his father does not go to plan when Dad tells his son that he knows he has not been attending University for the past two years and has stopped his allowance. When asked what he’s been doing for the last two years, he answers ‘thinking’! Also during the day he is confronted by his new neighbour, who attempts to pass on his own problems to the 27 year old, befriending him with gift’s of meatballs and Schnapps. In the evening he meets a beautiful girl from his schooldays that he once bullied for being over weight. This encounter leads to a confrontation with three thugs. Through out the day the only thing that Niko really wants is a cup of coffee; somehow this simple request remains out of his grasp for one reason or another. So finally late into the evening he enters a bar for one last attempt and meets a man that has returned to the city after 60 years absence, the old man tells him a harrowing tale of why he left in the first place then collapses in the street and with Niko accompanying him is taken to hospital. This final act forces our main protagonist’s to get his own life back into clear focus.
|Niko with ex-school friend Julika.|
This is a wonderful wee movie, with a screenplay written by the director, which contains some very poignant and humorous moments. Beautifully photographed in black and white it uses its Berlin locations to great effect. For the role of Niko, Tom Shilling deservedly won 2013’s German Film Award for Best Actor. He manages to make this character very human and encourages an empathy that perhaps not always deserved as the young Mr Fisher’s problems are generally brought on by the fact that he is not always prepared to get involved with life. Another great example of modern German cinema.