New from TLA Releasing is “I Am Guilty” (“Falscher Bekenner”), a disturbing story about a bright, bored and troubled teenager named Armin. He has a loving family which makes it hard to understand why he is so troubled. His parents care for him and love him very much. Even so he manages to get himself into all sorts of trouble as if he is hungering for the love he already has.
The problem that I had with the movie was the subtitles which made almost no sense at times. The little German I knew told me that something with the subtitles was not quite kosher and this caused me a great deal of confusion. I would have to classify the movie as art house abstraction. The thing that bothers me about abstract movies is that I am never sure I really know what they mean.” I am Guilty” is a good movie nevertheless.
What we learn from the movie is about the boredom and dullness of life. Basically we all live the same life. We go to school, we graduate, we get a job, etc. Our existence is simply a “world of repetition”. Here we have a young man, bored with life who does not want to become a part of that kind of existence that society forces upon us. He is forced to commit crime to fulfill the need for excitement.
There were times that the movie seemed vague and I wondered if that showed that even with a life of repetition, there is also a degree of insularity in life. The fantasy sequences in the film are brilliant and the acting is wonderful. But there is also that sense of trying to understand what is real and what is imagination. What did Armin do and what did he just imagine he did?
When a movie makes me think, I welcome it. I want to believe that I was thinking correctly and I got no validation of that. The ending is just that—an ending. The movie just ends with no resolution and no tying up of lose ends. I was very surprised that it ended because I was waiting for some grand finale. I suppose that has to come in each viewer’s mind.
I realize that this is not an easy movie to watch but on a second viewing it made much more sense. It was so interesting to realize that with all of the differences among people in a society, that we are all basically the same—with variations. Isn’t this something we have always known but never wanted to admit? It takes a film like “I Am Guilty” to make us sit up and take notice of who we are, what we are doing and where we are going.