Saturday, May 10, 2014

A COFFEE IN BERLIN - OH, BOY!

Niko is a drunk driver.  He lives on an inheritance.  He is a white 30 something male living in Berlin.  The film follows him for one day as he tries to get a good cup of coffee.  Sound like your buddy who's start-up plan didn't pan out and needed to go find himself by traveling?  "Oh, boy!' is the German thesis film of Jan-Ole Gerster, set in and filmed in Berlin.  It is shot in black and white and hailed as a favorite among early Jim Jarmucsh aficionados.  Although a German production with more in direct connection to German bourgeois cultural problems, "Oh, boy!" can easily be read through a ueber contemporary tech-dominated Mission district of San Francisco lens.  Niko is painted as a normal Berliner navigating a gentrifying metropolis. This sort of experience is common among white men living in San Francisco today.  And like Niko, they are conveniently ignorance of patriarchal privilege.  When some of Niko's privileges are suspended he goes on a new journey to find himself, the content of the film.  Often when white San Francisco males' privilege is restricted they bitch about gentrification and/or maybe move to Oakland or Austin, or wherever has good coffee, a robust music scene and affordable housing, to join a new wave of gentrification they will be unaware of their participation in until it overtakes them a decade later.  Unfortunately "Oh, boy!" is also unaware of Niko's pathetic inability to care about anyone but himself.  Instead the film attempts to cast him as the lovable loser.  His angst is driven by a desire to be independent of his father, but to remain living with the trust fund created for him by his father.  The message of this film is that rich white men deserve some slack, because living with privilege is harder than we think.  Similar to the current fashion of most white males living in the mission these days, work clothes and Hitler youth haircuts, "Oh, boy!" is a facade of struggle worn by the upper-class to pass as common.

It's coming out in US theaters in July 14


-PW