Feb 10, 2014
Who gives a shit about the white working-class? Certainly not the white bourgeoisie nor the rich, but especially not members of the white working-class itself as demonstrated by their plague-like tendency for mixing with other untermensch races, alcoholism and drug addiction, prideful ignorance, etc., or at least someone would assume so much after watching a cinematic work so decidedly depressing as Kanakerbraut (1984) aka White Trash directed by rather unsung German auteur Uwe Schrader (Sierra Leone, Mau Mau). Shot on Super 16mm film stock, White Trash is the 56-minute tale of a desperate and drunk unemployed member of the alcoholic Berlin working-class whose wife has left him and who must find a number of pathetically creative ways to obtain money so as to not starve to death, or at least not suffer from alcohol withdrawal. Following in the anti-German New Cinema tradition, White Trash is a sort of urban-decay-driven work in the ‘no bullshit’ kraut celluloid spirit of Roland Klick (Bübchen, Supermarkt), Klaus Lemke (Rocker, Arabian Nights), Uwe Frießner (The End of the Rainbow aka Das Ende des Regenbogens, Baby), Canadian-Austrian John Cook (Artischocke, Ich Schaff’s Einfach Nimmer), and Iranian exile Sohrab Shahid Saless (Ordnung aka Order, Utopia). Indeed, like Italian neorealism minus the Mediterranean sentimentalism, White Trash is the sort of film that stands against everything Hollywood is all about as a work of gritty anti-fantasy that forces the viewer to dwell in the despair of the Aryan ghetto to the point of virtual suffocation in what amounts to a somewhat short film that has more genuine emotion and truth than all three films in the entire The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. A daunting depiction of late Cold War era West Deutschland where illiterate Turks get more Teutonic pussy than the average proletarian Aryan and the only escape from the misery of their lives is beer and bratwurst, White Trash is ultimately a work that makes Uncle Adolf’s Beer Hall Putsch seem like a beauteous memory of the good old days by comparison. Indeed, White Trash is the social realist equivalent to the infamous drunk krauts of Reeperbahn Strasse, Hamburg scene featured in Mondo cane (1962), albeit minus most of the dark humor (not that Schrader’s film is not humorous in its own way).
Berlin-based out-of-work Teutonic everyman Paul (Peter Franke) is watching porn loops but he is too melancholy to really give a shit. A 40-year-old man with far too much alcohol in his blood (or too much blood in his alcohol), Paul has always been a degenerate dipsomaniac but it was not until he lost his job that his beloved wife Babs left him and, in turn, left him in the sorry state he is in today. Still convinced she will come back one day, Paul sends her a card for their anniversary in which he wrote his estranged beloved the following pathetic words: “Yesterday I saw Eva and your mother. I was standing behind a hedge and watched my own daughter like a criminal. When I think about the way things used to be, then, it tears my heart apart.” Paul’s best friend is an unreliable petty criminal named Guenther (Alfred Raschke) who likes naïve underage girls and is prone to being arrested by the police at the most random moments (indeed, the first scene in which Paul's friend is introduced, he is also soon arrested). One day, Paul goes to the same bar he always frequents and decides to talk to an old used-up slag named Lisa (Brigitte Janner) who is depressed because her towelhead Turk boyfriend has left her and is now doing dangerous work somewhere in Sudan. In defense of her pathological miscegenation, Lisa states regarding her raunchy love of Turks, “they still have this emotion, you know,” as if Deutschland is inhabited by dead souls. While one would assume their mutual lovelorn loneliness should bring them together, Paul is too negative and depressed and Lisa is too bitchy and slutty for the two develop anything resembling a mutual love (or even friendship) for one another. While hanging out with one another in a bar, Lisa cuckolds Paul by getting with a fat businessman (Nikolaus Dutsch), who she states of, “Oh, so there are still nice people in this country of ours.” All three end up taking a taxi back to the businessman’s apartment and on the way Lisa hypocritically states while channeling Travis Bickle, “One should take a giant hose and wash all the scum off the streets,” as if she was not a STD-ridden skank. Of course, Lisa and the Businessman begin making repulsive lard ass love, but the former decides to take a break to verbally berate Paul about his wife leaving him. Not unsurprisingly, Paul calls Lisa a “slut” and “floozy” and she retorts by saying he, “will end up at the salvation army in the antisocial division.” Of course, Lisa and the businessman finally tell Paul to “piss off” as they want to screw, so he leaves. More desperate than ever, Paul makes a failed attempt at a robbery with a toy gun and donates blood to make some money. In the end, Paul once again drowns his sorrow in alcohol, but manages to shed a smile after being given a free drink by a Turkish man celebrating the marriage of a relative. Indeed, it seems that Paul learns that multiculturalism has at least one advantage.
Advertised as “a really big little film,” White Trash would ultimately win auteur Uwe Schrader the ‘Film Award in Gold’ for “Best Direction” at the German Film Awards (aka Deutscher Filmpreis) in 1984 and would also be nominated for “Best Feature” at the Chicago International Film Festival the same year, but the work seems to have fallen into obscurity ever since. Although, aesthetically speaking, White Trash is not exactly anything special, the film does manage to communicate the misery of the working-class in a seemingly sincere fashion that an intellectually pedantic and emotionally vapid cappuccino communist like Alexander Kluge could only dream of. Additionally, compared to similarly themed works of its time, White Trash is far from politically correct as demonstrated by a scene in the film where the protagonist is listening to a comedian who proudly states, “UN…In German that’s the ‘Unorganized Nations.’ They want to help underdeveloped countries, those that just aren’t that far yet, through advice and action. And you have to say those Negroes are good at taking. Everything, really. And they keep developing. And how! And they’re grateful, those Utschebebbes [racial slur].” Indeed, it certainly says something about a nation when it cannot help its own working-class, yet feels the need to help some melanin-rich, food-poor AIDS-addled untermensch from the third world so as to prove they are cuckolded to America and prove that their country no longer has any evil Hitlerite ideals, especially those that might benefit the white proletarian majority. Of course, White Trash is just as much, if not more so, about America as it is about Germany. After all, on top of the fact that the majority of America’s white working-class has either succumbed to alcoholism and/or drug addiction, miscegenation has also become quite trendy among the fatherless white whores from this background. That being said, the main difference between the protagonist of White Trash and his contemporary equivalent is that the latter would be an illiterate negrophiliac wigger who has never had gainful employment in his entire life but probably has a bastard kid or two, while the former was at least at one time gainfully employed and married to the mother of his daughter. The white trash of White Trash seem a lot more tolerable than the fat ass, rap-blasting, mud-dipping white negroes of today. Celluloid sociology by a cynic with a heart (albeit, a somewhat dark one), White Trash is a film that one might suspect Jim Goad (ANSWER Me!, The Redneck Manifesto) would direct if he was a kraut instead of mere bottom-of-the-barrel Irish-American white trash.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 12:22 AM
Soiled Sinema 2007 - 2013. All rights reserved. Best viewed in Firefox and Chrome.