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Review | Me, Christiane F., 13, drug addict and prostitute – The classic that SHOCKED the 80s returns to the cinema and proves to be timeless

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The 1980s were marked by an intense youthful plunge into the rock scene, losing the colorful hippie of the 1960s and 70s to gaining the monochromatic black – in clothes, in make-up, in state of mind. It was also when there was the spread of synthetic drugs, which gained ground especially in the big cities of the world, in the alleys of urban centres, in the hands of young people. As a portrait of the rise of this dark scenario, the drama ‘Eu, Christiane F., 13 years old, drug addict and prostitute’ appeared in 1981, which, starting this week, will be re-released in Brazilian cinemas to celebrate the forty years of his debut on the circuit.

Christiane (Natja Brunckhorst) is a middle-class girl who, at thirteen, sees her sister leave home to live with her father. At the same time, her mother has a new boyfriend, whom she doesn’t like very much. Feeling the boiling of teenage hormones surfacing and a super fan of singer David Bowie, Christiane wants to mark her independence by hanging out with friends in Berlin’s subterfuge nightclubs, where she encounters the drug underworld, which is beginning to seize frequented places. by young people. As she sees her friends – including the boy she loves, Detlev (Thomas Haustein), and her best friend, Babsi (Christiane Lechle) – experiment with more and more harder drugs, Christiane gradually realizes that to follow keeping pace with the rest of the class, they also have to keep up with drug use – but gradually that means having to submit to increasingly serious situations.

When first released, “Eu, Christiane F., 13, drug addict and prostitute” shocked the world because of the very graphic and close-up scenes, not only of drug use – marijuana, cocaine, heroin, bullets – but as well as its impact on the human body. Based on the book of the same name by Horst Rieck and Kai Hermann, Herman Weigel’s screenplay constructs the rise and fall of the protagonist in a highly immersive way, plunging her into the world of drugs until the young woman loses absolutely everything that is socially important. In a way, the film presents itself as a portrait of the youth of the 1980s, who popularized synthetic drugs among minors, very impacted by the lifestyle of rock bands who, in turn, lavished consumption of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as something empowering. – in the film allegorically portrayed by David Bowie, who appears in the feature film. Fans, in turn, mirrored this behavior, as did Christiane.

Although the screenplay is impressive, what weighs down the story is German director Uli Edel’s camera control, with an excess of close-ups of syringes and veins, almost like a manual. At the time of release, it was these scenes, along with the zombification of drug use and the title, that shook critics and audiences alike, and will impact audiences and critics today, forty years later. It was this shock that transformed ‘Eu, Christiane F., 13 years old, drugged and prostituted’ from an independent film into a classic of global underground cinema, and today it has also become a testimonial portrait of the drug’s disastrous trajectory. in the generations that followed. A heartbreaking, debate-provoking film that is important to anyone who studies film.

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