Audi Festival of German Films: Oh Boy
We recently featured Just a Sigh, which is currently travelling Australia with the Alliance Française French Film Festival. Today we take you geographically East with Oh Boy, a feature that is part of the Audi Festival of German Films.
The opening sequences for Oh Boy set tone of the film well. A baby-faced twenty-something man is hopeless with his girlfriend, and at buying coffee. The film is full of life’s little annoyances – like paying an exorbitant amount of money for a coffee, or having your debit card swallowed by a machine – these not being life-ruining things, but bit irritating at the time. Oh Boy is littered with these ill-fated mishaps for life-drifting Berlin dweller Niko Fischer (Tom Schilling). Niko struggles with commitment. He fucks things up with his girlfriend with his absentminded, careless attitude, and flunked out of his law degree because he ‘needed time to think… about things’. Opportunity arises when Niko unites with a girl, Julika Hoffmann (Friederike Kempter), that he knew of at school a decade ago. She was a late bloomer. A baby-fat problem led her to be bullied by Niko with the cruel nickname, ‘Roly Poly Julie’. The attraction changes for Niko with her present appearance and the pair become (to the best of Niko’s limited social capacity) friends.
Oh Boy is the debut work of German director, Jan-Ole Gerster, it was first released in 2012. It has touches of a Woody Allen aesthetic – shot in monochrome, with a comical jazz-laden soundtrack to reflect Niko during his most pathetic life movements. The film is quite slapstick, with more than a few facepalm moments for poor old Niko, as is suggested by the film’s title. It’s an enjoyable watch though, especially the ending sequence when Niko shows another side of his often morose and detached character. This moment is nicely paired with scenery of Berlin spots in Kreuzberg and Friedrichstraße in those fitting, tonal shades of grey.
See the rest of the Audi Festival of German Films lineup here. The festival is on now and runs until April 11th, showing in various cities in Australia.
Oh Boy review by Carol Bowditch.