Jul 8, 2013

Your Heart in My Head

The real-life true crime story of gay kraut cannibal Armin Meiwes—a man who butchered, killed, and ate a voluntary victim, including his penis, that he met on the internet—has inspired popular culture in a manner not seen in the miscegenation-based man-eating of American blond beast Jeffrey Dahmer, including the popular song “Mein Teil” (which reached second place in German music charts after its released) by Teutonic industrial group Rammstein and the title of untermensch American degenerate Marilyn Manson’s album Eat Me, Drink Me (2007) but, more importantly, it inspired a number of films, especially in the Fatherland. Undoubtedly, the most mainstream, totally worthless, and pathetically politically correct film based on the cannibal case is Grimm Love (2006) aka Rohtenburg, which was initially banned in Germany after Armin Meiwes complained the film infringed on his “personal rights.” Of course, the most brutal and aberrantly artsy cinematic take on the Meiwes case is the splatter-arthouse flick Cannibal (2006) directed by Marian Dora, a relentlessly unhinged piece of putrid, anti-politically correct poetry that was also banned in Deutschland that obsessively attempted to reconstruct the actual events that took place between the cannibal and the man whose cock he chomped on. Aside from possibly Fassbinder superstar Ulli Lommel’s Diary of a Cannibal (2007), a deplorable piece of digital diarrhea set in Los Angeles featuring a heterosexual flesh-eating couple as opposed to a homo one, Your Heart in My Head (2005) aka Dein Herz in meinem Hirn directed by hysterical homo-supremacist Rosa von Praunheim (Army of Lovers or Revolt of the Perverts, Horror Vacui) is the loosest and most fictitious take on the Armin Meiwes case. A no-budget digital work oftentimes shot from the perspective of the sexually aberrant anti-hero and his trusty camcorder, Your Heart in My Head is a crudely assembled piece of campy cannibal melodrama featuring two strikingly ugly and lethally lonely kraut cocksuckers who are too afraid to suck each other's cock yet ultimately find temporary solace and romantic companionship in vorarephilia, at least until one of the two men bleeds out and the other carries his decapitated head around like a little girl clutching a much cherished baby doll. A depressing and pathetic tale about two rather depressing and pathetic middle-aged men well past their prime who see dining on one another as the only way of finding ‘light’ in a world plagued by all-encompassing deadness, Your Heart in My Head has the grand distinction of being probably the only truly 'serious' gay cannibal melodrama ever made, which would have been probably better handled in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's hands were he still alive, but Rosa von Praunheim adds a certain fiercely faggy flare to the film that makes it undeniably entertaining, if not endearingly autistic and aesthetically obnoxious and even revolting. 

 Achim Grenz (Martin Molitor) is a divorced and unemployed middle-aged school teacher and neurotic Norman Bates-esque momma’s boy of the latently homosexual sort who has no one to talk to or confide in, so he talks to himself via camcorder. Unlike Armin Meiwes, who lived in a village in a large and dilapidated ancient home, Achim lives in a small suburban home in Spandau, Berlin, a place he lovingly describes as “the kingdom of the dead” that is full of “dead people, dead cars, dead streets, dead bushes…everything is dead.” Under the pretense of socializing over chess, Achim invites a high school teacher named Peter Mack (Martin Ontrop) to his house. Upon their first visit, Achim finds Peter’s behavior to be “a bit rough,” especially after he ironically describes the color his home as follows: “Doesn’t it make you think of a butcher shop and things like pigs cut in half, dripping?” Achim kicks Peter out, but later he comes back and apologizes, thus ushering in the beginning of their uniquely unhinged and mostly sexless romantic relationship. Achim likes Peter so much that he immediately introduces him to his overbearing yet disabled mother Anna Lisa (also played by Martin Molitor), who is clearly a lonely sexually repressed bitch who seems to be the source of her son’s innate passivity, misery, and sheer and utter lack of testicular fortitude. Although no friend of man’s best friend, Achim is given a dog named Gina by Peter. When Achim kills the canine, Peter locks him in his own basement but the door was never really locked and the deranged dog-slayer spends three entire days in a virtual domestic dungeon because he was too cowardly to even attempt to try and open the door. Seemingly trying in vain, Peter attempts every shady tactic he can think of, including physical and verbal violence, to make a man out of perennial cuckold Achim. As Peter tells Achim, “There’s nothing wrong with a craving for meat. Men need protein.” Despite his repulsion in regard to his cowardice, Peter remarks to Achim’s mother regarding her son, “I like him so much; I could eat him alive,” but, of course, the roles are ultimately reversed when the wimpy middle-aged untermensch finally develops enough gall to go more than balls deep. After pretending to castrate his own cock, Peter begins to show weakness in front of Achim after it is revealed that he is a homeless transient who has lot everything and is no longer a school teacher as he claimed, but just a perverted bum who likes to talk a lot of shit. Peter inevitably convinces Achim to cut off his peter and ultimately kill and eat him because he believes that “to be eaten is to be holy…to be revered...highly honored…” and being a homeless latent homo, he no longer has anything less to lose. After Peter chugs some liquor and takes some pills, Achim turns him into a eunuch and then a corpse and later decapitates and performs an amateur embalming of his body. After his own mother also dies due to his own neglect, Achim, who has gone through some warped ritualistic transformation due to his cannibalism, proudly declares to his camcorder, “At last I’m my own master. No carping mother, no dominating asshole friend.” With Peter’s guts in his formerly weak stomach and his head carefully placed in a cardboard box, Achim decides to take a fabulous trip down South, thus beginning his new life as a man with a sort of cannibalistic confidence that he did not have previously. 

 Probably even more so than the absurdly melodramatic Jeffrey Dahmer biopic Dahmer (2002) starring Jeremy Renner, Praunheim’s Your Heart in My Head dares the viewer to empathize with an exceedingly pathetic and lonely man who dares to eat the flesh of another man as a drastically desperate way to feel both ‘empowered’ and close to someone for the first time in his life. Undoubtedly one of the most melancholy yet strangely campy depictions of post-WWII Germany ever made, Your Heart in My Head certainly is quite effective, if not rather ridiculous for a no-budget flick with a humble home-video aesthetic that looks like it was shot over a mere weekend amongst friends. One must give director Rosa von Praunheim credit where credit is due as the film was condemned by conservative politicians from Armin Miewes' hometown, including Axel Wintermeyer, a Christian Democrat representative in the state parliament, who described Your Heart in My Head as “glorifying a perverse criminal” and stated that the film’s title is “hard to beat for tastelessness,” which is no small insult in a country where prostitution is legal and small sex toys are sold in coin machines in subway and bus stations. Originally advertised as a “mix of grotesque, thriller, and documentary... a gruesome comedy” by the North Rhine-Westphalia Film Institute, which partially funded the film to the disgust of many German taxpayers, Your Heart in My Head—a work that is essentially an autistic melodrama with a tinge of sexually sadistic splatter scenes—represents an all time low in terms of aesthetics in the land of thinkers and poets, but the Armin Miewes case is as well, as both reflect a spiritually sick nation longing for vitality. If Your Heart in My Head can be described as a ‘horror’ flick, it is only in the völkisch sense in its dreary depiction of modern urban Germany as a cultural graveyard of alienation and sexual perversion where physical and emotional ugliness is adulated. Indeed, it is no coincidence that anti-hero Achim describes his hometown as the “Kingdom of the Dead” and if an alpha-degenerate like auteur Rosa von Praunheim understands this, one can only speculate that the Fatherland has a truly forsaken future. 

-Ty E


Drew Grimm Van Ess said...

Hmmm. Never heard of or seen this film. I'm intrigued to watch it now. It sounds like it might be right up my lane. Great write-up.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

So you followed my advice and showed a dick being mutilated instead of a twat, cheers, that fell in line nicely with my rampaging heterosexuality and my murderous homo-phobia.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, the Fatherland would be fine if only all the faggots living there could somehow be completely eradicated.

jimmie t. murakami said...

Almost half way through the summer movie season already and i`m still hoping that you`re gonna` reveiw at least one of the blockbusters, i just wonder which one it`ll be ?.