Cute, in a very fa­mil­iar way

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - DONALD CLARKE

CENTRE OF MY WORLD Di­rected by Jakob M Erwa. Star­ring Inka Friedrich, Sascha Alexan­der Geršak, Thomas Goritzki, Louis Hof­mann. Club, limited re­lease, 115 min

Move along. There’s nothing new to see here. Okay, that’s a lit­tle un­fair. This Ger­man com­ing-of-age film is not with­out its cosy plea­sures. The cast in­ter­act warmly and the sleepy, sum­mery cin­e­matog­ra­phy con­jures up an at­mos­phere of per­sonal trans­for­ma­tion.

But, by golly, this is fa­mil­iar. There is a se­quence in which – to demon­strate free­dom – some­body cy­cles down an open road with arms out­stretched. Youths lounge sleep­ily to­gether by the sort of li­dos you only en­counter in such Euro­pean dra­mas. Oooh. Who’s the new guy in school? Cute enough for a slow-motion saunter be­fore a steady zoom into the pro­tag­o­nist’s stunned face?

The pic­ture be­gins with an un­am­bigu­ous de­pic­tion of loom­ing change. Amus­ing, un­cer­tain Phil (Louis Hof­mann), who has been away at camp, re­turns home to find trees up­ended and fences flat­tened. A storm has passed through. An­other is on the way. His home life was al­ready pretty un­set­tled. Dianne (Ada Phi­line Stap­pen­beck), his much loved sis­ter, and Glass (Sabine Ti­mo­teo), his on-the-edge mother, look to be close to im­plo­sion at ev­ery mo­ment. When Ni­cholas (Jan­nik Schü­mann), the new kid, makes that slow-motion en­trance, Phil’s re­la­tion­ship with Dianne is put to the test. Mean­while, he yearns to discover which of Glass’s pa­rade of lovers was his fa­ther. This is one way of becoming an adult. Dianne is barely able to speak with mum.

There are many rup­tures along the way, but the over­whelm­ing im­pres­sion is of pretty peo­ple do­ing things that were once quirky but now in­di­cate off-the-peg quirkiness in cute in­de­pen­dent films. Is Glass named for the fa­mous fam­ily in the JD Salinger sto­ries? Now, there was odd­ness worth savour­ing.

Still, as generic mid­dle-brow en­ter­tain­ment goes, Centre of

my World func­tions ad­e­quately. You wish the characters well. You crave for neat end­ings.

Boys own: Jan Schu­mann and Louis Hof­mann in Centre of My World

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