The Movie Chasing Paper Birds premieres on the 17th of September and is going to trigger a nostalgic feeling in many of us. It is a film that gives a raw and beautiful insight into Berlin’s soul in the decade of the 2010s, with the focus on Friedrichshain and all the different characters that made this Kiez so special.
As a former director of music videos and image films, Mariana Jukica has made it possible to perceive Berlin’s spirit and captured every spark. She awakens memories of a lived madness, in a time before touristy hooligans took over the city.
The movie is narrated from three perspectives. Mia, Keks and Ian, who are in their late twenties to early thirties, are all on the run from reality and on the hunt for their own personal happiness.
Chasing Paper Birds catapults the audience into a hot summer night soaked in drugs and alcohol with the typical Berlin prototypes, striving for Fortuna, while their inner demons rush them through the trials of life. Staggering, losing the ground under their feet, floating, then dashing again – the characters lure the viewer into a wild night filled with adventure. The film understands how to replicate Berlin’s scene with all of its elements.
The other protagonists – the spätis, clubs, and rooftops, the glamour and dirt, the parties, the sex, the drugs and the alcohol, the music, the intoxication, the dreams and fears, true love and big drama. Dancing, lost days, the frenzy of courage, and the rigidity of fear. It is a film about high hopes and even greater fears of loss.
In Marianas Jukica’s debut film, which appears as a drunken ecstasy, the Croatian / Canadian filmmaker captured the attitude to life of a seething city almost like a documentary film.
Mia, Keks and Ian are characters who, from the very beginning, seem very familiar to the audience. This is probably because everyone knows people like them.
Mia is an ambitious French dancer. Desperately, she searches in the shadows of the city for answers and meaning in her life. Her dreams of becoming a famous artist and her hope for true love have been crushed.
Keks, a young DJ, escapes life’s big decisions and the responsibility of growing up. She lets herself fall into the arms of a raging Berlin party night.
And Ian, a glamorous video performance artist who enjoys being the center of attention, is desperate after having been carried away with love for the first time. He gave his heart away and lost it. For a person like Ian, with a sense of great drama, this threatens to end in dangerous emotional despair.
The subtleties of the camera work, the sound recordings which capture the typical rustle of Berlin, and finally the interaction of the two takes the viewer on a trip with trance-like moments of a mix between madness and happiness.
The film shows a lost generation of the past decade through and through. In the main roles none other than Vladimir Burlakov (Iron Sky – The Coming Race), Henrike von Kuick (Am Himmel der Tag), Lucie Aron (Berlin Syndrome) and Florian Bartholomäi (Rubinrot).
For many years, Berlin has been a magnet for those who lost themselves. For the outsiders and birds of paradise. For young people, who let themselves drift in a city that is poison and antidote at the same time. Growing up on the playground for adults.
Chasing Paper Birds is a contemporary document of Berlin, of a time when the German capital was home for people who didn’t know where they belonged. A film that has preserved a legendary era in fast-paced and captivating images.
Chasing Paper Birds is Screening at Achtung Berlin, September 17, 2020, 22:00 (Kino Babylon) & September 18, 20:30 (City Kino Wedding). In cinemas soon, more at www.chasingpaperbirds.com.
Text: Marie F. Trankovits