Film

Not burning up

OUT NOW! ABGEBRANNT is only a half-baked attempt at social commentary and doesn't quite warm all the way up.

Tattoo artist Pelin works illegally while cashing in her Hartz IV, so as to sustain her three young children and her heedless lifestyle, until this dodgy compromise ends in a near-catastrophe. Abgebrannt benefits immensely from its performances, particularly Zaree’s superb portrayal of Pelin, but its initial attempt at social realism – à la Dardennes or Fatih Akin – eventually gives way to a mere succession of miserable incidents caused by Pelin’s poor choices that overstretch the viewer’s empathy threshold and have little to say as a whole in terms of social commentary.

Abgebrannt | D: Verena S. Freytag (Germany 2011) with Maryam Zaree, Tilla Kratochwil, Lukas Steltner. Starts September 22