Europe seems to be a very emotive subject at present, discussed daily on UK news media – should we stay or should we go that is the question? But a far more important question to ask ‘are European comedies funny’? Before I watched Bora Dagtekin’s award winning 2013 German comedy Fack Ju Gohte I would have been of the opinion that that humour would not necessary carry very well across continents, but how wrong could I be.
Written and directed by Dagtekin, as was his first feature film Turkisch Fur Anfanger (2012) that was based on a successful TV series of the same name and run for three seasons between 2006 and 2008. This comic entertainment was shot in and around Munich and Berlin. Interestingly the prison scenes were shot in the former GDR prison in Keibelstrabe in Berlin.
The story involves bank robber Zeki Muller (Elyas M’Barek) who has just been released from jail. Upon his release he goes to see his pole-dancing girlfriend Charlie (Jana Pallaske Inglourious Basterds 2009) to retrieve the money he stole which he needs to repay a debt owing to a violent criminal, Charlie informs him that she buried the money on a construction site but during the time he spent in prison the construction project has been completed and his money is now buried beneath the new gymnasium at the Goethe Comprehensive School! But Zeki has a plan and applies for the vacant janitors at the school. The headmistress (the brilliant Katja Riemann) mistakes Zeki’s job application for a substitute teachers position made vacant after one of her staff attempted suicide by throwing herself out of a school window following a particular stressful day teaching the undisciplined Class 10B and subsequently awards him the job. He spends his nights digging under the gym for the missing money and his days attempting to bring Class 10B into line. Meantime he meets a rather prim and proper teacher Lisi Schnabelstedt (played by Karoline Herfurth who you may have seen in Berlin 36 (2009) as Gretel Bergmann) who finds his method of teaching a little unorthodox but never the less begins to fall in love with him.
The title we are informed is an intentional misspelling of Fuck you Goethe or if you believe IMDB the English title is Suck me Shakespeer. Either way it’s a great movie and one I can certainly recommend it to you for some welcome light hearted viewing. I can guarantee that it will actually make you laugh and that you will love the characters all played with great gusto by a very talented cast. This movie is the first of two, the sequel is called Fack Ju Gohte 2 and was released in 2015 with much the same line up and if its as funny and entertaining as the first film it too will be well worth seeing.