Director: Edwin Brienen | 80 minutes | drama | Actors: Godehard Giese, Agnieszka Rozenbajgier, Hendrik Arns
Berlin, a city with an eventful history and yet time seems to stand still there, at least in films of the caliber ‘Viva Europa!’ Where Berlin once again figures as a setting for classic ingredients such as communism, singing transvestites, blue angels, the years Eighty know-it-alls straight to the viewer and of course fascists and Nazis. Director Edwin Brienen took a good look at Fassbinder’s films and then let himself be inspired by aspects that are less memorable. Unconvincing actors dress up as pimp, hooker, ambiguous bartender or man with a mustache and each get a few one-liners or flirt with a “wrong” song in a sketch or video clip-like scene. But badly played nostalgic schlager songs and Lionel Ritchie are, of course, in the context of hard-felt existentialist metropolitan fear, loneliness and irretrievability, übercool.
Can you feel it yet? Filmhuis Cavia in Amsterdam: gallons of coffee, the musty projector room, the sweaty cinema room, men and women smoking shag in orange dungarees and during the intermission a smartlap sounds through the stairwell. They look for a strange angle and mess around with mirrors, but it doesn’t really help. Amusing are the numerous split-screens that have no function whatsoever except to portray even less of the subject. That is again nice and professional contrary. But “Viva Europa!” Is mainly pretentious amateurism: fringe figures who philosophize a little political and economic all day long. Because what is more interesting than hearing yourself talk about the future of Europe, in Berlin, in a low-budget film by Edwin Brienen.