Nackte Tiere – Intimate Teen-Drama

REVIEW/NATION
by Albina Akhatova
20.12.2020
Nackte Tiere ('Naked Animals', 2020) – was the first film for director Melanie Velde. In fact, they took the analogous prize from the Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin for the best debut. The provocative title actually reveals a chamber story from the personal spaces of both the soul and the territories – most of the action takes place in the apartment in a typical panel house of a small provincial town in East Germany. Nudity here is about helplessness and sincerity, animals – about naturalness and nakedness.
All the characters are equally important, but they are never present in the frame without Katya, the main character, so this is a story about how she studies in the senior class, looks after a friend together with her mates, trains jujitsu, wants to leave a small town and join the army. In the whole company only she understands what she wants because her friends do not see prospects and do not think much about them.

However, instead of giving the final verdict to his characters, director Velde offers the audience the opportunity to watch. In documentaries, there is such a genre as observation – the same thing can be said about Nackte Tiere, where there is no exciting and dynamic plot, but there is a constant presence of the characters accompanied by a watch of them in their natural habitat.

At a Q&A session after the film premiere, Melanie revealed that the cameraman Fion Mutert is a former actor. He was 20 years old when he was shooting Nackte Tiere. That is why he merged so easily with his own kind in the frame which turned out to be something that is so reminiscent of the documentary genre. The film was shot with a hand-held camera that created an intimate mood of narration and image. The predominant tone of the visual part and lighting of the film becomes skin-colored . Teens often come into contact with bodies – both their own one and others: they gnaw burrs, rend crusts on wounds, sleep in the same bed in an embrace. The atmosphere inside the frame is filled with sensuality and physiology, but there are no sex scenes.

The intimacy that the operator tries to show is actually emotional and sensual in the way that teenagers experience in relation to each other, having no one else in the world – they have a difficult relationship with their parents. Relationships between each other also remain unsaid and ambiguous-even in adolescence, when we may not understand what kind of feelings we actually have for a friend or girlfriend. As in documentaries, there is no voice-over music in Nackte Tiere – all of it sounds inside and individually highlights each character.
Of all the actors' works, the most outstanding performance is shown by Michelangelo Fortuzzi from SCAM Germany (2018), the semi-marginal character that the company looks after throughout the film: constantly stoned, sleepy, looking out from under heavy eyelids and having no goals or values in life. Nackte Tiere became the debut role in a feature film for the female lead role of Marie Tragousti. Sammy Scheuritzel from Dark (2017-2020) appears in the role of Katya's partner in jujitsu.

One of the closest references to Nackte Tiere may be the recent sensational series Normal People (2020). This movie is so modern and unlike the usual well-established stories about teenagers, but it is open to the audience and its characters.

 
Nackte Tiere – Intimate Teen-Drama
REVIEW/NATION
by Albina Akhatova
20.12.2020
Nackte Tiere ('Naked Animals', 2020) – was the first film for director Melanie Velde. In fact, they took the analogous prize from the Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin for the best debut. The provocative title actually reveals a chamber story from the personal spaces of both the soul and the territories – most of the action takes place in the apartment in a typical panel house of a small provincial town in East Germany. Nudity here is about helplessness and sincerity, animals – about naturalness and nakedness.
All the characters are equally important, but they are never present in the frame without Katya, the main character, so this is a story about how she studies in the senior class, looks after a friend together with her mates, trains jujitsu, wants to leave a small town and join the army. In the whole company only she understands what she wants because her friends do not see prospects and do not think much about them.

However, instead of giving the final verdict to his characters, director Velde offers the audience the opportunity to watch. In documentaries, there is such a genre as observation – the same thing can be said about Nackte Tiere, where there is no exciting and dynamic plot, but there is a constant presence of the characters accompanied by a watch of them in their natural habitat.
At a Q&A session after the film premiere, Melanie revealed that the cameraman Fion Mutert is a former actor. He was 20 years old when he was shooting Nackte Tiere. That is why he merged so easily with his own kind in the frame which turned out to be something that is so reminiscent of the documentary genre. The film was shot with a hand-held camera that created an intimate mood of narration and image. The predominant tone of the visual part and lighting of the film becomes skin-colored . Teens often come into contact with bodies – both their own one and others: they gnaw burrs, rend crusts on wounds, sleep in the same bed in an embrace. The atmosphere inside the frame is filled with sensuality and physiology, but there are no sex scenes.

The intimacy that the operator tries to show is actually emotional and sensual in the way that teenagers experience in relation to each other, having no one else in the world – they have a difficult relationship with their parents. Relationships between each other also remain unsaid and ambiguous-even in adolescence, when we may not understand what kind of feelings we actually have for a friend or girlfriend. As in documentaries, there is no voice-over music in Nackte Tiere – all of it sounds inside and individually highlights each character.
Of all the actors' works, the most outstanding performance is shown by Michelangelo Fortuzzi from SCAM Germany (2018), the semi-marginal character that the company looks after throughout the film: constantly stoned, sleepy, looking out from under heavy eyelids and having no goals or values in life. Nackte Tiere became the debut role in a feature film for the female lead role of Marie Tragousti. Sammy Scheuritzel from Dark (2017-2020) appears in the role of Katya's partner in jujitsu.

One of the closest references to Nackte Tiere may be the recent sensational series Normal People (2020). This movie is so modern and unlike the usual well-established stories about teenagers, but it is open to the audience and its characters.
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