She is nine, her name is Bernadette, but since she hates this name, nobody will call her but Benni. She has an angelic face, but her behavior is becoming increasingly problematic. It goes through prisons under the hands of desperate social workers who don’t know what to do with them. Emotional drama System Intruder is the full-length debut of Nora Fingscheidt, for which she received the Silver Bear at this year’s Berlinale. It was released in Czech cinemas at the beginning of October and is also presented today by the German film festival Das Filmfest.

The system’s intruders are children who, because of their problematic behavior, do not fit into the structure of German social services. Benni is a perfect example. Her mother could not take care of her and entrusted her to social workers who are also groping. Benni is an unmanageable and untamed person, a bizarre and solitary person who suffers from sudden outbursts of anger and exaggerated aggression in all directions. She cannot go to the refectory because she is not old enough and refuses to put her in crisis centers or other institutions. Benni can no longer stand the constant ups and downs and shows his anger completely. Bennie’s famous red jacket, which she wears most of the film, complements the sharp scenes. As a rule, it forms an overall contrast to the rest of the scene and logically attracts more attention.

New acting hope

Overall, the film is very rich in contrast, not only thematically, but also visually. The film thematically compares the city with the country and criticizes German bureaucracy and incompetent parents. She works visually with the red jacket mentioned above, but red is essential for the film. It also appears in more experimental environments that may seem inappropriate when viewed, but are targeted at the end of the story. The camera is loose, moves and lives, trembles with parts, but fits perfectly with the trembling life of the main character, played by the young actress Helena Zengel, perfect and perfect. The anger and material regret she was able to express through her unimagined acting expression is really of a high standard, and the film basically “steals” while other characters disappear in the background. After the film, you sit in a movie theater and just think that you haven’t seen a child actor or actor perform so well in a long time. Her acting talent is controversial, and director Nora Fingscheidt has probably managed to discover the new acting hope of German cinema.

German Oscar ambassador

The two-hour spectacle offers almost all existing emotions, from aggression to tears to laughter and joy. At least it is a shame that emotionally tense situations are sometimes ended at the wrong time due to uncompromising processing. Perhaps the film wouldn’t mind taking a few minutes longer footage that whirls up all the open topics, tells the characters everything they had to say, and lets the emotions work until the end. Nevertheless, the little evil is System Intruder A truly distinctive film that keeps pace, has a clear visual style and a pure narrative, knows what it wants to convey and is rightly one of the best in German film art in the past year – after all, Germany also sent it into the Oscar battle. And it would be a real violation of the system if he didn’t get among the five nominees. Germany has never been one of the nominations for the best foreign film in recent years, even if it is only a co-production. So we can say that without exaggeration and almost confidently System Intruder will take part in the Oscar competition in early February next year. Good luck, the competition is going to be great.

System intruder / system sprinkler
Germany, 2019, 118 min
director: Nora Fingscheidt
Scenario: Nora Fingscheidt
Actor: Helena Zengel, Albrecht Schuch, Lisa Hagmeister, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Melanie Straub and others