The refreshing cast of sharply honed characters in Germany’s gay romantic comedy Men To Kiss has pushed this subtitled film beyond its low-budget roots, with a universal tale of love, friendship and loyalty — and knowing when it’s time to fight dirty.
Archetypes abound in this battle-of-the-hearts narrative set in Berlin, with lead characters, straitlaced banker Ernst (Frank Christian Marx, who also co-produced and co-wrote the screenplay) and his fun-loving opposite, philosophy student boyfriend Tobias (Udo Lutz, co-producer) creating a genuinely realistic chemistry on screen.
Not the stereotypical lusty kind, mind you; even the film’s single sex scene is a gentler, more believable depiction of (slightly) normal 30-somethings getting it together in a big city like
Throw in Ernst’s long-lost school friend, the wicked Uta with her devilishly severe costuming, lack of scruples and her ability to communicate soo much with just a parting of her thighs, and it’s a hysterical game-on for Tobias, his mother (Marcus Lachmann) and a crew of devoted friends.
One of the film’s funniest laugh-out-loud scenes takes place with Berlin artist Ades Zabel and her film partner, ex-porn actor Stefan Kuschner, who play bumbling shopkeepers, totally unaware of the frustration they’re causing Ernst. Think Little Britain at its best — a delicious contrast of the absurd and the mundane.
Wordplay and verbal stoushes are a hallmark of the film’s humour which appears to translate well into English, and no doubt there are some pithy lines you’ll want to steal: “Don’t worry dear, I have nothing against ugly people.”
And audiences will no doubt pick up on the updated subtitled reference to a certain famous tennis player.
Heading squarely into fairytale territory, the film’s soundtrack by Daniel Berens, musical director of Friedrichstadtspalast (Berlin’s historic Show Palace), is used to great effect, sprinkling sugar plum fairy-esque orchestral notes alongside hardcore dance music, as the film takes you from the historic streets of Berlin to the pumping nightclubs for which it is famous.
Popular German band Rosenstolz lent a hand with scoring the end credits, which provide a few more giggles with a series of hilarious outtakes, more of which are promised on the DVD.
INFO: Men To Kiss is screening on Monday, February 27 at 7pm, Cinema Paris, Entertainment Quarter. www.mardigrasfilmfestival.com.au
by Lynsey Hughes