[Film Review] Christiane F. (1981)

Christiane F. poster

Title: Christiane F.
Original Title: Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo
Year: 1981
Country: West Germany
Language: German
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Uli Edel
Herman Weigel
Kai Kermann
Horst Rieck
Music: Jürgen Knieper
Jürgen Jürges
Justus Pankau
Natja Brunckhorst
Thomas Haustein
Christiane Lechle
Andreas Fuhrmann
Uwe Diderich
Jens Kuphal
Christiane Reichert
Kerstin Richter
Ellen Esser
David Bowie
Rating: 5.9/10

Christiane F. 1981

A movie blind date with CHRISTIANE F., a cautionary tale about the decadence of a 14-year-old girl Christiane’s heroin addiction, based on the autobiographical recount from Christiane Felscherinow, probes into the drug scene in West Germany in 1970s.

As Christiane (Brunckhorst) acclaims “I can’t take this shit anymore!”, right after another fellow junkie died of overdose near the 3/4 of the film, the wake-up calls ring many times but with no avail, this is also a test for viewers’ forbearance of dyed-in-the-wool addict’s relapse, disturbing and obdurate, the film presents us with the horrendous existing circumstance at the scrum of the earth, when prostitution is a conjoint twin with those poverty-stricken junkie-kids, as they’re dispensable ciphers beyond any help, the merest trifle in the world. It is either stop or die, the final redemption using voice-over is both an expedient and a sketchy evasion of what’s the real truth behind the successful withdrawal (or not).

A perpetual squint and the dazed expression doesn’t indicate you’re high, but with an amateurish cast, even the over-stretching make-up cannot help too much without looking stifling. There are stiff and awkward sex scenes between Christiane and her hustler boyfriend Detlev (Haustein) which borders on gratuitousness, the more well re-enacted is their cold turkey period, vicarious yet impactful, but my problem remains since it is too repulsive to watch the imitation of the needle injection, which is too frequent and its impact runs to overkill. and it is noxious and disheartening to see those juvenile actors try so hard to reach the theatrical credibility, it is just not healthy for them. In any rate, I will recommend more adult-centered versions like Al Pacino & Kitty Winn in THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK (1971) or Heath Ledger & Abbie Cornish in CANDY (2006).

It is the feature length debut of director Uli Edel (LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, 1989), one prominent attribute is he interlaces the roaming subjective angle from Christiane after the heroin injection, with the dispassionate objective observation. Also David Bowie’s glam cameo jibes with the zeitgeist of the time and painfully reminds us heroin is only for those who are rich and famous. Personally speaking, the message is already taken, so for me it feels superfluous to place myself to witness the horror which I wholeheartedly despise, period.

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