Mau Mau

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Uwe Schrader's third feature is a hand-held post-'Fall of the Wall' slice of low life, set in the immigrant area of a German city and following three interconnected couples. As city centres have filled with marginals, so Schrader makes marginals the centre of his extremely well acted film. Its focal point is the Mau Mau, a pastel kitsch, sleazy strip bar. Anyone old enough to have lost their way in life can drink here and toast their hard-won communality of defeat. Like a drink-sodden realist, Schrader hangs around and observes the pimps, gangsters, night-owls and lonely old bar flies. After an hour or so, you've got to know them, their interlocking destinies, and there you have it: a functioning model of a demi-monde! This is like a post-Fassbinder Fassbinder movie. It's non-judgmental and lacking in nihilism - but it also lacks Fassbinder's political acuity and gutter poetry.

By: WH

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