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A HERO’S WELCOME

Director: BRIGITTE BERTELE

GERMANY • 2008 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR DIGITAL BETACAM • 91 MIN


Director Brigitte Bertele’s impressive first feature is an astutely observed drama about a young German soldier who returns from Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

David (Hanno Koffler) comes back to his Black Forest home where girlfriend Kirsten (Petra Schmidt-Schaller) can’t wait to get him between the sheets. However, plagued by violent dreams, the tightly wound David isn’t up to much in that department. Instead the soldier spends time relaxing with his admiring 8-year-old half-brother, Benni (Jona Ruggaber), though their ‘training’ games in the surrounding countryside turn increasingly violent.

Although Bertele includes a few brief flashbacks to David’s time in Afghanistan, her film is more focused on his everyday life back home, where he resumes his job as a paramedic but can’t conquer his demons. The film’s strength derives from Bertele’s uncanny skill at capturing a troubled young man’s psychology. She manages to lay bare the psychic traumas of her protagonist and to show the spectator even unconscious mechanisms of suppression.

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