(Blinkpunkt:film) REVIEW KINO: "Contra" by Sönke Wortmann
"Contra" is finally starting in German cinemas. The comedy by Sönke Wortmann with Christoph Maria Herbst and Nilam Farooq was supposed to be one of the German cinema highlights last autumn, but had to be postponed due to Corona. Read our review here.
If you write that Sönke Wortmann can now stage a witty comedy like "Contra" in his sleep, it shouldn't sound disrespectful, as if you think he is on autopilot as a director. Rather, it is an expression of the greatest respect, because Wortmann almost 30 years after "Kleine Haie"has an experience, a sovereignty, a taste, a sensitivity in dealing with the respective film material that one would rather be surprised if in the end films came out that did not meet the high demands and ambitions. What is particularly special is that you cannot see the director's hand, that the production never comes to the fore and waves: Look what I can do. Maybe it depends in the last few years, since the 62-year-old director with "Frau Müller muss weg!" filmed a tried and tested play for the first time, also together with the fact that there is absolute trust in the respective story and its characters. "The First Name" was also a tried and tested title, the remake of a highly successful French comedy. And this also applies to "Contra", which had to be postponed for more than a year because of Corona, but is timelessly well made and played: In France the material was called "Le brio" (German title: "The brilliant Mademoiselle Neïla " ) with Daniel Auteuil and Camélia Jordana in 2017 a hit at the box office.
For the German remake, Wortmann and his skilled author Doron invented Wisotzkythe wheel was not new, but rather made fine and skilful adjustments to keep the story, a contemporary variation of "Pygmalion" / "My Fair Lady"to make it work for a large audience in Germany: A strict law professor of old grit and grain lets the new student Naima run up in his jovial, arrogant manner in a nasty way, which does not really go down well on social media, as video recordings of his verbal juries go viral walk. He only comes out of the act when he agrees to coach Naima and prepare for a debating contest. It's an approximation of the reluctant, hesitant way one can think. The fact that these fundamentally different characters get closer, develop understanding, respect and even something like a tender friendship is not exactly surprising if you have already seen more than five films in your life.
It depends on the how, on the tone, on the timing. And "Contra" is not naked, not least because Sönke Wortmann relies on his precisely selected actors: Christoph Maria Herbst is the ideal cast of law professor Pohl, because you immediately remove his asshole, but also follow him when he is in front of the audience the antagonistic cover drops and the creep becomes a human being, shows understanding for him. And above all, it has the size to shine in its two or three big moments, but otherwise clear the way for Nilam Farooq. "Contra" is her personal triumph, Naima the role she has been waiting for. Here the Berliner redeems the promise she made in previous appearances such as in "My Blind Date with Life" "Sweethearts" gave: Because she shines in this film and yet is always this character, with all her wishes and longings, blessed with intelligence and quick-wittedness. Because the camera loves them and as a viewer you can experience live, so to speak, as a young actress becomes a star.
Source: Blickpunkt: Film