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Review: No Entry No Exit-Auf Teufel komm raus (2010)

No Entry No Exit-Auf Teufel komm raus (2010)

Directed by: Mareille Klein, Julie Kreuzer | 82 minutes | documentary

How do community residents react when a convicted sex offender moves in? The documentary ‘No Entry No Exit’ (‘Auf Teufel komm raus’) (2010) by Mareille Klein and Julie Kreuzer is about this complex issue. The German village of Randerath is in turmoil when Karl D. shows up. Karl has served a 15-year prison sentence for repeatedly raping and assaulting two teenage girls. Once free again, his brother Helmut, who lives in Randerath, takes him in. That gesture of brotherly love costs him dearly, because the neighborhood revolts and does not only target Karl. There are almost daily demonstrations in front of the D. family’s house and where Helmut used to be a respectable citizen, he is now taunted. They even threaten to evict his son Kevin. Because a boy like that shouldn’t live in the same house with a sex offender. Helmut’s good will seems to cost him his peace, his house and his family‚Ķ

Klein and Kreuzer have been able to gain entry to Camp D. as well as the enraged or frightened villagers who try to expand Karl’s community for fear that the convicted sex offender will go wrong again. Without taking sides, they show how a situation like this can tear a village apart. A lot of people involved have their say. Not only concerned mothers from the village, who often have their own personal reasons for joining the fray, but also Helmut and even Karl. The complexity of the situation is apparent from the unrest within the group of demonstrators. Unrest that also causes a rift within the group. The mothers mentioned earlier find it unjust that the demonstrations against Karl seem to focus more and more on Helmut and can no longer control their need to want to talk to him. What follows is an unexpected twist that ‘No Entry No Exit’ once again puts the situation in the village of Randerath in a new light.

It is amazing how Klein and Kreuzer have managed to reduce a subject that is so complex and controversial to its essence. The villagers feel threatened by the arrival of Karl D. and make his life miserable. They have no desire to lynch him, but would rather see him locked up for life so that he never repeats himself. However, Karl seems unfazed by all the demonstrations, hateful letters and other negativity. He may openly admit some of his crimes in front of Klein and Kreuzer’s camera, but he shows no remorse. It is his brother Helmut, the man who took him under his wing, who is burdened more heavily and that makes it extra wry. The film presents the viewer with a number of moral dilemmas: can the rights of the victims, the villagers and those of the perpetrator and his family actually be reconciled?

The theme of ‘No Entry No Exit’ is of course very topical. The documentary makers have skilfully avoided all the pitfalls of the controversy, so that the most honest possible picture is sketched of all those involved. They observe without judgment and know how to keep their film straight thanks to careful construction and efficient editing. Moreover, they know how to make viewers reconsider their points of view several times and that deserves a big compliment.

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