Recommended Rental: Christiane F

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Published February 25, 2009

Last night at the State of the Union, President Obama challenged young people to complete at least one year of undergraduate education. Obama gets it and we’re glad, as his speech got us thinking of all those kids who went down the wrong path. We’re talking heroin addiction, specifically that depicted by Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, the auto-biographical story of Christiane Vera Felscherinow, and its adapted film version, Christiane F., by Uli Edel. Released in 1981, it’s about kids in Berlin in the late 1970s. Heroin’s more the effect than the cause of the protagonist’s dropping out, but nonetheless…

It’s an intense, visceral anti-addiction story, and the film runs a little like an after-school TV drama—except for the explicit depiction of violations of the body. Wayward teens beware especially of the scene in which a young addict prepares to shoot up in a bathroom stall. At any moment a crazy, super addicted heroin used could jump over that stall tries to stick in his neck. Look out, America!