Christiane F. | Chicago Reader

Christiane F.

A big hit in Germany and the rest of Europe, this 1981 film by Ulrich Edel turned out to be a Reefer Madness for the 80s, based on the time-honored exploitation formula of shock, titillation, and censure. Natja Brunkhorst has a pouty authenticity as a 13-year-old who gets involved in Berlin's adolescent drug scene, but Edel is interested in her only as a victim, and the horrors she experiences are presented with graphic gusto (some are filmed so broadly that they suggest Blake Edwards gags gone painfully wild). For all of its hand-wringing, the film finally lacks any real compassion or insight, opting for a rightist explanation of social ills as the fault of unstable families.

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