Director: Christian Wagner

2002. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo. 87 mins.

This juveniles-at-risk tale provides a useful corrective to the popular image of Munich as a place supposedly devoid of poverty. Ghettokids is a docu-drama that combines young amateur actors from the problem area of ‘Hasenbergl’ with well-known German performers such as Barbara Rudnik and Gunther Maria Halmer. The film was inspired by the real-life Ghettokids Club, which was founded in the late ’90s to encourage largely immigrant first-generation and economically disadvantaged students to mentor one another through school. In the film, middle-aged social worker Xaver (Halmer) runs a club primarily centred on break-dancing and rapping. Using this haven as a second home are teenage brothers Maikis (Toni Osmani) and Christos (Ioannis Tsialas). The boys are constantly getting into trouble, despite the best efforts of their new teacher Hanna (Rudnik). Dismayed by her ‘impossible’ job, Hanna nevertheless decides to adopt a tougher approach and stick to the task of helping those less fortunate than herself. It may sound like a happy ending is on the agenda, but director Christian Wagner makes it clear that, for ghetto kids, there are no fairy tales where people live happily ever after.

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