Oct 21, 2012


Undoubtedly, the Austrian neo-nazi-themed melodrama Initiation aka Blutsfreundschaft (2009) directed by Peter Kern (Crazy Boys, The Island of the Bloody Plantation) is one of the most haphazardly assembled and shamelessly clichéd films that I have seen all year, but I guess I should have expected so much after watching the trailer for it before enduring such a such an intrinsically wretched and repulsive work. Centering around a 16-year-old teenage protagonist named Axel (Harry Lampl) who randomly takes shelter in the home business of an 80-year-old homosexual laundromat owner named Gustav Tritzinsky (played by a lifeless Helmut Berger) after accidentally stabbing to death a leftist social worker in an effort to impress his new neo-nazi friend, Blutsfreundschaft is a work about an individual that has to make the crucial and totally black-and-white decision between becoming a Hitlerphile philistine or a dirty old man’s personal twink-in-training. Directed by Peter Kern, who like fellow Fassbinder graduate Ulli Lommel (Adolf and Marlene, Cocaine Cowboys), went on to seemingly disown everything he learned from the German New Wave master auteur and directed a series of ludicrously lackluster exploitation films. For example, with Fassbinder cohort Kurt Raab, Kern co-directed the innately gratuitous women-in-prison flick The Island of the Bloody Plantation (1983) aka Die Insel der blutigen Plantage – a rather repellant work featuring neo-nazi commandos sadistically raping, torturing, and murdering helpless, brown savage babes – so, before even viewing fractured and monstrously mundane melodrama Blutsfreundschaft, I knew I would probably have trouble taking it seriously. Still, I was willing to put my preconceptions aside, as a film featuring Helmut Berger, sexual perversion, and Nazis couldn’t be half bad as proven by The Damned (1969), but, unfortunately, Kern is no Visconti and Blutsfreundschaft is no Nicolo Donato’s Brotherhood (2009), though I would be lying if I did not admit the film kept me relatively stimulated throughout, but for all the wrong reasons, sort of the same way a tension headache would.

It is beyond question that Austrian Aryan abberosexual Helmut Berger was the flaming queen of the late 1960s and 1970s European silverscreen as proven by his iconic and effortlessly effete performances in such masterpieces ranging from Massimo Dallamano’s exploitative Oscar Wilde adaptation Dorian Gray (1970) to Luchino Visconti’s arthouse epic Ludwig (1972), but in Blutsfreundschaft, the actor’s talents go to waste as he seems like a tired, old eunuch incapable of even caring about the film he is starring in. In Blutsfreundschaft, Berger plays a mostly sad and sedentary homosexual senior citizen named Gustav Tritzinsky whose only motivation in life is being the greatest remover of stains from clothes. A member of the prestigious Hitler Youth as an adolescent, Tritzinsky’s world fell into shambles when his boyhood Lebensmensch was executed in a concentration camp after the two blood brothers killed a senior member of the HJ during a scuffle centering around the leader realizing the boys were more than just typical butt buddies. Tritzinsky never got over his beau boy's death and partly blamed himself for it due to squealing while under interrogation by the SS. When skinhead-in-training Axel happens to stumble into the old man’s laundromat, Tritzinsky is quite shocked by the startling resemblance between the seemingly nice neo-nazi and lover of his youth he lost long ago, thus causing him to recollect the torrid tragedy of his youth. Naturally, aside from half-hearted stormtropper Axel, all the skinheads featured in Blutsfreundschaft are one-dimensional caricatures – savage white niggers if you will – that make the swinish Aryan thugs of the Hollywood neo-bolshie agit-prop flick American History X (1998) seem like slightly subversive gentlemen and scholars. Of course, Tritzinsky is portrayed as a somber sage of sorts who, aside from his fellow sexual inverts, is the only virtuous person featured in the entirety of Blutsfreundschaft. Assuredly, the most nefarious characters in the film are the SS officers from Tritzinsky's youth; a malicious, elderly woman (despite the fact that women, especially antiquated ones, could not join the SS!) and a pernicious pervert who hits on Tritzinsky's boy-toy seconds before putting a bullet in his brain via his trusty luger. Blutsfreundschaft also features a young tranny-in-training named Jacob Ostermann aka Christina Thürmer (Melanie Kretschmann) who lives with and is best friends with Tritzinsky. Despite having XY chromosomes, Jacob/Christina becomes sort of a love interest for fairweather neo-nazi Axel. Proving he might be halfway heterosexual after all (in between literally shaking his bare ass for a dirty old man), Axel pounds a proud skinhead byrd (who is routinely beaten and spat and pissed on by the bodacious boot boys) with his wienerschitznel.  In short, Blutsfreundschaft features the sort of callow libertine family affairs that Fassbinder might be directing as eternal punishment had he been banished to hell after his untimely death.

Needless to say, although Blutsfreundschaft purports to be a serious melodrama that takes a stern stance against ‘hate,’ this relatively graceless, uncultured, and pathetically preachy Austrian film feels more like an ADL-sponsored afterschool special with softcore exploitation undertones than the work of a filmmaker who had previously collaborated with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Christoph Maria Schlingensief, Rosa von Praunheim, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, Daniel Schmid, Werner Schroeter, and Edwin Brienen, among numerous other important European arthouse auteur filmmakers. After all, Mr. Schlingensief spent a good portion of his artistic career decrying the shallow sentiments of German and Austrian leftists, especially in regard to the Third Reich, yet with Blutsfreundschaft, Peter Kern even outdoes world-class wimp Wim Wenders with his untermensch sniveling and brownnosing.  Considering my recent watching and enjoyment of Peter Kern’s less than futuristic sci-fi satire Haider lebt - 1. April 2021 (2002) – a no-budget arthouse romp filmed within seven days with nil special-effects on deplorable digital video – I cannot fathom why the clearly intelligent and inventive Austrian auteur would direct a film so unwaveringly asinine and patently propagandistic as Blutsfreundschaft; a film with cartoon nutzis that even Steven Spielberg wouldn’t have the gall to glorify as the epitome of hatred and a legit threat to Occidental civilization - except that perhaps he was fulfilling the perfect fantasy for himself, as a rather rotund grand-queen seducing a fit, young Aryan twink. One can only assume that with Blutsfreundschaft, Kern was trying to tap into the international film market, most specifically the U.S, as I have never seen a European auteur embarrass himself so thoroughly and unabashedly since Werner Herzog's ethno-masochistic tribute to pre-holocaust Judea Invincible (2001).  Although to the director's minor credit, at least Kern's Blutsfreundschaft has minor camp value and is consistently unintentionally entertaining due to its hysterical yet humdrum melodrama and hyper-homophilia.  On his personal website, Peter Kern eloquently describes himself as, "Austrian, insane, hysterical, hypocritical and undemocratic," so I think I am somewhat willing to forgive him for his aesthetic shoddiness with Blutsfreundschaft and will leave it up to his fallen auteur comrades to sort him out whenever he kicks the bucket, presumably from a massive myocardial infarction.

-Ty E


jervaise brooke hamster said...

I honestly never knew that Helmut Berger was a faggot, the bloody dirty pansy queer bastard.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its interesting that although i am totally contemptuous of Adolf Hitler, The Third Reich, and all the hideousness that it stood for i dont like it when they are accused of being faggots. The Nazis were worthless garbage but at least they were rampantly heterosexual which is always something that deserves respect.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

All skinheads are pansy queer bastards, which obviously makes a nonsense of them seeing themselves as Nazis. Adolf Hitler would have had them all shot for being faggots, and rightly so. How can a shinhead be a Nazi if he is a fairy ! ?, he can only be a Nazi if he is heterosexual ! ! !. As Adolf Hitler said: "DEATH TO ALL PANSY QUEER BASTARDS".

Heather O`Rourke said...

Its true that i represent and constitute everything that the Nazis held dear, but i am also totally contemptuous of them just like my beloved Jervaise.