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.