Opening October 22, 2015
Directed by: Arend Agthe
Writing credits: Bettina Kupfer, Arend Agthe
Principle actors: Nicolaus von der Recke, Sophie Lindenberg, Philipp Schmitz-Elsen, Bettina Kupfer, Albert Kitzl, Josef Ostendorf, Henriette Heinze
Young Sammy (von der Recke) lives with his sister Molly and their mother in Hamburg. Their father has taken time off to “find himself” in Afghanistan with Doctors without Borders. Molly takes this as a sign that the marriage has failed, and, when not hanging out with boyfriend Joachim, feels responsible for finding a new husband for mom, who is also a physician in a hospital. Sammy ignores the difficulties and finds pleasure with his hamster Raffi, which he has taught to play soccer in his cage. But then Raffi grows ill and must undergo an operation (in spite of Molly’s complaint that she could use the money for new clothes). If that weren’t bad enough, during recovery, Raffi escapes. What a disaster for Sammy, but endless adventures for Raffi. He spends time with ex-prisoner, Rocky and Rocky’s girlfriend Miranda; there are dangers such as a cat or rain-filled gutters, even the Elbe River is a threat.
The plot never stops expanding in unexpected directions. There is a hamster show on TV, a search for 450,000 packages of cigarettes in a container ship, a new man for mom, much confusion, and a very sweet ending. Rettet Raffi was my favorite film in the 2015 Hamburg Michel Children and Youth Film Festival. Director Agthe said that during the festival much of the filming occurred at night since hamsters (Retti plus 14 doubles) sleep at night. It was filmed totally in Hamburg in about one month. Members of actor Nicki von der Recke’s class at school had the opportunity to become involved with supporting roles. Agthe was not only director and scriptwriter along with Kupfer, but both of them wrote the book with the same title. The cinema was completely sold out at my afternoon showing; everyone enjoyed the film immensely and you will, too, wonderful for all ages, six years and older. (Becky T.)