Uwe Schrader – Sierra Leone (1987)


After spending three years doing field installation work in West Africa, Fred returns home to his old neighbourhood, an industrial region on the outskirts of a major city. He is filled with confidence and optimism for a new start. He has brought home with him a pile of money that he made in Africa. But he never wrote to his wife Rita. He only wired her a money transfer every month. In the meantime, Rita has a new life that she now shares with a GI. Fred rents a room in the “Royal”, a sleazy hotel. There, he meets Alma, who takes care of the rooms and the guests and who is being kept by her sugar daddy – the aging hotel director. A passionate encounter with his old girlfriend Vera, who had high hopes for the two of them at some earlier time, dissipates into a brief carnal episode. For the old work buddies in the steel mill, Fred’s return is just an excuse to get drunk one night. Only Alma, the girl from the “Royal”, shows interest in Fred. For her, he personifies a bit of yearning, faraway places and the chance to get herself out of her little rat-hole. Together they set out on a journey, wandering aimlessly through Germany. . .
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Uwe Schrader – Kanakerbraut (1984)


Here’s the debut feature film by director Uwe Schrader, who’s still a well-kept secret of german cinema. I first read about him in the most recent issue of Cargo. His realistic “Milieu” films recall the works of Klaus Lemke, Roland Klick or the austro-canadian filmmaker John Cook. Kanakerbraut is only one hour long, and it is about the dull life of Paul (Peter Franke) and his encounters with similar characters in Berlin Kreuzberg. Continue reading

Uwe Schrader – Mau Mau (1992)


Here’s the final film of Uwe Schrader’s proletarian trilogy, following White Trash AKA Kanakerbraut [Germany] and Sierra Leone [Germany] . Without a straight narrative, a couple of stories revolve around the last days of a stripclub called ‘Mau Mau’.

MAU MAU is located right in the middle of the red light district. When night falls on the city, the joint starts jumping in MAU MAU. Stripping, pimping, ripping off and grifting are the order of the day. Sometimes it’s all very agreeable and sometimes all hell breaks loose. Celebrations and snivelling go hand in hand here. In this world of the marooned, the stumbling and those who have gotten back on their feet, the film traces the lifelines of Inge and Heinz, of Rosa and Doris and of Ferdi and Ali on their search for love, happiness and life. “If I had the choice of filming in heaven or hell,” says Uwe Schrader, “then I’d choose hell”. Continue reading