JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Lose Your Head (Directors: Stefan Westerwelle, Patrick Schuckmann) - May 25, 2013
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Lose Your Head

3.5 3.5
105 min.

Reviewed for the 2013 Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival
Trust no one

Curiously like a cross between Madrid 1987 (infatuation leading to confinement) and Gone: The Disappearance of Aeryn Gillern (queer hunk goes missing—last seen running nude from an upscale Viennese bathhouse: a true story), Lose Your Head chronicles a young Spanish man, Luis (Fernando Tielve makes the transition from child to adult actor with convincing style and admiral ease with the few minutes of nudity required; once he masters the art of lying with more conviction—er, verbally—he’ll be in demand everywhere) dumps his architect boyfriend (“Carlos, you are boring”) and heads to Berlin to experience drugs, sex and 24/7 partying.

On his first night he finds all three, but only—Judas-like—denies the existence of his Spanish amigos in order to get past the bouncer at the anything-goes club.

Next morning the fun keeps going until his new friend, Grit (Samia Muriel Chancrin is appropriately sultry and vindictive as needed) and her buds lock Luis in while they go about their business, knowing this fresh piece of meat will be waiting in the apartment upon their return. But the resourceful party animal, whose sudden change to a drug-infused lifestyle is driven by his desire to experience “the complete absence of fear” makes the first of several escapes only to run back into the arms of illegal resident Viktor (a brief pick-up in the club the night before soon becomes Luis’ first real love). The menacing role (it appears that Viktor may have more problems with the law than lack of an identity card…) is played with a wide range of “types” by Marko Mandic, but he comes across as far too creepy from his first appearance to make Luis’ instant attraction seem at all credible. That key ingredient to the narrative becomes a flaw which significantly lessens the impact of the many surprises to come (Patrick Schuckmann’s script is brilliantly crafted).

The main subplot involves the search by a pair of Greeks (Stavros Yagoulis as Kostas; Sesede Terziyan as Elena) who are desperately searching for Elena’s younger brother, Dimitri (Jan Amazigh Sid). He has also been known to frequent Berlin’s extraordinary nightlife on the prowl for much the same sort of hedonistic delights as Luis.

As the scenes unfold, there is a fascinating feeling of unease with the possibility that, perhaps, Viktor may have had a hand (or all manner of other limbs) in Dimitri’s disappearing act (or perhaps he is just lying about on a tropical beach?).

Co-directors Stefan Westerwelle and Schuckmann have cobbled together a story that will keep many on the edge of their seats (and all of it beautifully captured by Julia Dascher’s deft cinematography: the hand-held sequences and eerie blackness more than achieve their desired effects), and, finally, leave viewers with a wee bit of homework as this far reaching trip comes back down to earth. JWR

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