Film review | Best of Berlinale
"System Crasher”: a harrowing story of enlightenment

Systemsprenger Film Still
© kineo / Weydemann Bros. / Yunus Roy Imer

"System Crasher” is the story of the turbulent life of a little girl for whom there seems to be no room to grow and thrive. Our film review discusses the documentary-like approach of the film and the outstanding performance of the actors, who can hardly leave the emotions of the audience untouched.

By Maya Sapronov

Nine-year-old Benni wanders back and forth between homes for "difficult children" and foster homes. She can't stay with her family because of her tantrums, she's isolated and the only adults around her are a group of caregivers who can't cope with her case. No one can channel Benni's anger in the right direction and her outbursts are impossible to calm. "System Crasher” is the narrative of the turbulent life of this little girl for whom there seems to be no place to grow and thrive.

A touching naturalism

"System Crasher” almost has the feel of a documentary, as its form has an authentic style. The locations, sets and costumes in particular convey a realistic impression, but above all the natural lighting and camera work contribute greatly to giving the film this realistic effect. The camera is never fixed, which gives the viewer the feeling of being part of every scene. It is also very close to the characters, so that you are immersed in their intimacy, which creates an even stronger bond. In short, the almost documentary-style amplifies the viewers’ emotions significantly.  
  • Systemsprenger © kineo / Weydemann Bros. / Yunus Roy Imer

  • Systemsprenger © kineo / Weydemann Bros. / Yunus Roy Imer

  • Systemsprenger © kineo / Weydemann Bros. / Yunus Roy Imer

  • Systemsprenger © kineo / Weydemann Bros. / Yunus Roy Imer

Outstanding actors

What is most striking about Nora Fingscheidt's feature film is the acting, especially that of the lead actress: Helena Zengel. Her performance is so powerful, so believable and her screen presence so captivating that it is almost difficult to keep in mind that she is an actress and the whole story just fiction. Gabriela Maria Schmeide's performance as Mrs. Bafané, who is the only one who doesn't give up on Benni, is also remarkably moving. One of her scenes brought several people in the room to tears. Her emotions are instantly transferred to the audience, so convincing is her performance. Albrecht Abraham Schuch, the actor who plays Benni's tutor Michael Heller, also gives a breathtaking performance. His character is endearing and harrowing at the same time, and Schuch plays this very aptly. To put it bluntly, the actors' performances alone are an excellent reason to watch this incredibly memorable movie.

The movie is available on Netflix