Marcus Mittermeier, Jan Henrik Stahlberg / Germany
This film is so outrageous it deserves to be discussed. Inspired by reality TV series such as Hilfe, Holt mich hier raus (originally from Great Britain as I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here) and Deutschland sucht den Superstar (Pop Idol or American Idol in Great Britain and the US respectively), directors Mittermeier and Stahlberg, along with actor Christoph Kottenkamp, travel to the US to compete in the American Idol competition. It’s irrelevant that they are over the hill age wise, have little talent except being extravagantly silly and know nothing about the US or English. In Germany they already caused a stir by cutting off human limbs on TV, a habit they set forth in the US. They also perform as a rock band called the Baghdad Street Boys. Their final coup is to die on screen in Hollywood. This is supposed to be funny. It’s definitely very black comedy and often amusing, although I felt the film was a means to an end, the end being an excuse for Mittermeier, Stalberg and Kottenkamp to hang out and party. The group almost admitted to this during the press conference at the Berlinale. They made the film in ten weeks on a limited budget. Fifteen people travelled through the US in two trailers, in which they also camped out. They often filmed without permission, Borat-style, e.g., in Las Vegas. Some critics felt that the ending was an inappropriate let down but if the guys are spoofing typical American TV news which concentrates on trivialities and sensationalism, then it was right on target. Or consider the publicity about former British Big Brother member, Jade Goody, who died, literally on screen, of cancer. They appreciated the good graces of the average American and said that in one scene where they audition before a mayor of a small US town, the real mayor volunteered to play himself. Mittermeier and Stahlberg had already made one small hit called Muxmäuschenstill. Stahlberg made Bye Bye Berlusconi. They are definitely worth watching in the future.