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    Preussisch Gangstar – Hip Hop Club in Buchow

    By Ron Holloway | August 26, 2008

    For six months, Irma-Kinga Stelmach and Bartosz Werner, students at the Potsdam Babelsberg Film School, followed three youths on their daily routines in the Brandenburg town of Buchow, a popular a health resort for senior citizens just 50 kilometers northeast of Berlin to make Preussisch Gangstar (Germany, 2007).

    As the story goes in this fiction documentary, the three friends, each from a relatively well-to-do family, still live with their parents, have seldom left the town, and spend most of their time hanging around together at their “BC-40” club. There, dressed in hiphop garb, they identify with the music of “Preussisch Gangstar” (click www.preussisch-gangstar.de) and vent their frustrations in rap cadences.

    Tino (Benny Succow) hopes to finish school with a graduation certificate to please his parents, but would rather forget about school altogether. Olli (Mario Knofe) works at a disco for a boss he loathes, while dreaming of opening his own club when he has the money. And Nico (Robert Ohde), unemployed and on parole as a juvenile delinquent, can’t control his explosive temper under drugs and alcohol. Over three days, before a running DigiBeta camera (Andreas Bergman, Ben Pohl), the youths let down their guard about whatever bothers them: boredom and unemployment, parties and drugs, gang fights and girlfriends, conflicts with parents and poor grades at school.

    As much documentary as fiction, Preussisch Gangstar lends an air of authenticity that cannot be deprecated, particularly if one is fascinated by youths allowed pretty much to play themselves in a fictional world of their own fantasies. Awarded for Best Film Music at the 2007 Saarbrücken festival, Prussian Gangstar went on from there to win the New Berlin Film Award for Best Feature Film at the Achtung Berlin festival.

    – Ron Holloway

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