Theater of Cruelty

2 x female revenge

Out of nowhere / Killing Jesus (Matar a Jesús)
Regissør: Fatih Akin/Laura Mora

Out of nowhere and Killing Jesus are both powerful films about women who endeavor to achieve justice.


The structural similarities between the films Ut av intet og Killing Jesus is intriguing: Both are based on real social policy events; one deals with the murder of the director's own father, who was a professor of political science in Colombia; the other is inspired by the so-called kebab murders – a series of terrorist bombs targeting immigrants in Germany in the early 2000 century. Both relate to right-wing extremist violence that results in the loss of close people. In both cases, the surrounding community is either not fit or unwilling to allow justice to be done fully. Both of the female protagonists go through a phase of exploitation and self-medication – the bottomless injustice they experience drives them into desperation.

Alone against everyone. Faith Akins Ut av intet is about Katja, who loses husband and children in a bomb blast in Berlin. The man has taken care of the child in the office while Katja has been in the spa with a friend, but when she is to retrieve the child, there is a jerking bomb crater and a police-locked street she returns to.

The young amateur actors with heavy personal life experiences give authenticity to the characters that professionals can only dream of.

In the film's biplane, the murdered Kurdish husband, a former criminal prisoner, figures. His background is something the authorities know to exploit for what Katja is experiencing is a training of the murder case. The failure of the German police to investigate the right-wing extremist environment and thus lose vital investigative time could certainly have been written into the script in a less stereotypical way. But, the essence of the story is getting the heroine kicked off, alone in his quest for revenge.

First, Katja has to go through several humiliating situations regarding her extreme degree of self-medication. If she does not acknowledge her abuse, her deceased husband will be blacked out. His character is already in doubt. Does a dead man need a good reputation? Therein lies probably the difference between a documentary and a fictional portrayal of reality. In situations like this, the drama often has no room for humor. But reality has – and Ut av intet missing a hint of this.

In the diaphragm. Rebellious and dissolved in grief, a sizzling Katja defends her husband's honor with such force that the tea party of supportive family members shouts in armor and disappears like the rush out of the living room with the trendy panoramic windows. The blame is total. Finally, we can rest in the roller coaster chaos of emotions the heroine spins mercilessly around in. We are with Katja in the despair and rage that the young right-wing extremists are recovering unpunished from the murders. The scornful smiles they direct at her hit us like kicks in the diaphragm. Diane Krüger in the role of Katja won the award for best female lead in the cannes festival's main competition. Faith Akin recently received the Golden Globe for his film, which is also in the top tier on the run-up to the Oscars.

The director probably knew what she was doing when she picked the dazzlingly beautiful actress star for the film's lead role. But the choice of the very appealing Krüger to play Akin's desperate avenger seems somewhat speculative and has a slightly flattening effect on the result. That said, Krüger can do far more than gamble on his looks. She makes us feel on the body what inferno an individual steps into when the fight against evil in society is to be fought.

The film is a torch that shows how a small person can make a big difference. It asks how far you are willing to go to make amends when the most relentless has struck. Ut av intet depicts the vulnerability and willingness to risk life in the fight for what you love.

Autobiographical. In Colombian Killing Jesus triggers the murder of the director's father story. Despite the fact that the film is based on her personal tragedy, it is never experienced privately. Laura Mora chooses to tell in a low-key, dynamic and more authentic style than Faith Akin; where the German film directs the rage at the killers, focusing Killing Jesus on the society that creates killers. Mora processed her trauma for ten years before she was able to film, and this processing process permeates the film. Killing Jesus provides space for a larger space for reflection, while Mora is able to create both closeness to and identification with the heroine Paula. Thus, the film also becomes scarier for a squeamish person like me, as the protective distance is gone. The film language maintains a rough documentary tone. The director takes us into the noisy, chaotic and violent city of Medellín, where Mora chose to film at authentic crime scenes, although this brought back painful memories. At the same time, she has picked out amateurs with heavy personal life experiences as actors. These young people give an authenticity to the characters that professionals can only dream of. Not least the heroine.

Clamp handle. As Paula – played by Natasha Jaramillo – gets on the back of the motorcycle of the young, boy of the same age she knows is her father's killer, the audience sits like needles; we what the young man is capable of. "Lita" – her nickname – sits next to her father as he is shot and killed in the car on the way home from university. The rain of glass, blood and death hit the daughter in the middle of the everyday journey home from her father's work.

The film begins with rhythmic clips of a politically ardent professor in action in the lecture hall – a man who is obviously neither afraid of being controversial nor of making enemies. He has the whole hall with him where he preaches his important message beyond his captivated audience: "We must never stop being indignant! Governments must reflect and act! We must never stop asking questions! ” The daughter knows every word on rams. She is her father up to date – and together they are playful, equal and close.

As a witness to the murder, Paula one day recognizes her father's killer at a disco. Drunk, without thinking about the consequences, ditch Trust the gang of friends to follow the killer. The film takes an elegant grip on tension: Paula hikes with her father's killer – she wants revenge. The motorcycle travels improbably fast, into the dangerous, poorest part of Medellín. Paula has to cling to the motorcycle – she has exactly a couple of centimeters to go on so as not to physically glue herself to her father's killer. Even though I get unwell from the imminent danger, the scene makes me happy afterwards; more confrontationally uncomfortable and close it does not get.

And what an insane portrayal of the young desperado! Giovanny Rodríguez gave the wrong name when the casting assistant found him. With a gang affiliation from the age of twelve and a recent prison stay fresh in his mind, he had little faith in the offer of a film role. When his and the other role performances are so hard-hitting, it is largely due to Mora's directing method during the filming: detailed script instructions were avoided, and the camera crew allowed the young people to act on instinct.

Self policing. Paula has the killer within reach, but no plan or experience of how she can exercise her revenge. Instead, she tries her best. As a typical protesting university student, she has her own regular cannabis dealer and naively believes that he is the man who can get her a weapon. That this costs money, and that the hard-nosed criminals are seldom to be trusted, she quickly learns painfully: The consequence of the contact is that the family has lost their home before we know it. Paula is thrown into even deeper despair. The only thing she can do is cling to the killer so as not to lose sight of him.

Ut av intet depicts the vulnerability and willingness to risk life in the fight for what you love.

The plot is a stroke of genius. And unlike Ut av intet BYR Killing Jesus on both humor and irony. Paula gets her long-awaited and for revenge absolutely necessary shooting training. – in a scene that is worthy of a place in film history: She gets so nauseous that she vomits and thus disgraces both herself and her father's killer in front of the other brutal gang members.

The strong staging of revenge, exposure and bottomless despair is something these two films have in common. Our two fighting heroines are both on a journey of justice. But at one point the films differ markedly, namely in the exercise of self-justice.

An announced revenge. Where one takes the time to investigate the environment that has created a killer, the other draws portraits untouchable killers: The German terrorists are brought to justice, but are released thanks to the alibi of a Greek Golden Dawn supporter. A crushed Katja in full swing throws herself at the scornfully victorious extremists before the court guards pull her back.

Paula does not announce her revenge, but pretends she needs help finding some suitable photo locations. The killer offers her a ride to her favorite place: a panoramic vantage point over the city. Here we are at Killing Jesus'core – the idea that finally redeemed director Mora's film: In a dream, she sits on a hill and looks out over her hometown Medellín while talking to her father's killer, who has introduced himself as Jesús. A dialogue with a killer, but also a human being is underway.

Ellen Lande
Ellen Lande
Lande is a film writer and director and a regular writer for Ny Tid.

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