Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: This Ain't California

I went along to the Melbourne screening of This Ain't California, which is part of the Audi Festival of German Films the other night, the screening had a Q&A session with the director Martin Persiel too. 

I've been along to many surf and snow film festivals and have seen a bevy of films in what I guess is best described as an action sports genre. There are those that are documentaries, those that are a story and those that are a mash of both. This film is the latter, based on true tales, images and footage from the 80's and 90's in East Germany during the times of the GDR. With Martin Persiel whilst staying close to the truth, has taken some creative license and re-shot, re-created and combined the characters of the era. There is a nice mix of super-8 films, animations, re-enactments and archival footage.

So what is this film about? Well... This Ain’t California follows three friends growing up in East Germany from their impressionable teenage years through to the present, with a passion for skateboarding and the freedom which it brings. All set against a punk soundtrack, that ties it all together nicely - that's if you can call punk nice.

One of my favourite moments that captures the situation is when it is described that there is a big wall between them and the nearest skate-shop. This Ain't California is not your typical skateboarding film nor is it your typical film about East Germany during the 80's and 90's.

If you are interested in comparing the film with another similar one but based in California I recommend checking out Lords of Dogtown, which follows the surf and skateboarding culture in Venice, California during the 70's.

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