fbpx System Crasher | Gene Siskel Film Center
23rd Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival

System Crasher


2019, Nora Fingscheidt, Germany, 120 min.
With Helena Zengel, Albrecht Schuch

Show Times

  • Sat, Mar 28th 5:00pm
  • Tue, Mar 31st 7:45pm

"A tender and visceral film...crafted with heaps of heart."—Millicent Thomas, Little White Lies

"Mesmerizing... Nora Fingscheidt proves herself as a fierce directorial force to be reckoned with."—Mary-Catherine Harvey, The Upcoming

Germany's official Oscar submission is a challenging film in a way totally befitting its subject. Nine-year-old Benni (Zengel in an awesomely intense performance) is a "system crasher"—a severely traumatized child whose treatment challenges the capabilities of child protective services. Her mother is loving but too emotionally fragile to deal with Benni's bursts of unrestrained fury; the girl's attacks on other children have rendered her unacceptable to foster parents, schools, and group homes. In her first fictional feature, documentarian Fingscheidt offers no easy solutions or miracle cures; neither does she routinely indict the system, whose representatives at times display almost superhuman patience and devotion. Benni's outbursts are rendered with a punk-rock expressionism—clashing cymbals, rapid cutting, explosions of pink—that is both exhilarating and terrifying. Should her anarchic energy be respected or contained? SYSTEM CRASHER poses an insoluble problem not from pessimism but as a call to radical thinking. In German with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Goethe-Institut Chicago. (MR)

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