System Crasher, 27 March 2020–2 April 2021, from £4.99 - Book now
German film, System Crasher, is director Nora Fingscheidt’s distinct fictional depiction of urgent dysfunction in an under-resourced care system.
Fierce shades of pink flash boldly from the screen to signal the tortured headspace of central character, nine-year-old Benni (Helena Zengel). The rebellious Benni retaliates towards a care system that could never substitute the love of a mother — a traumatic early childhood looms over Benni’s provocative, reactionary behaviour to unsympathetic surroundings.
Meanwhile, the system perceives the young girl — who regularly lashes out with profanity and violence — as too problematic to be contained. The medical approach is to alter her reactions, which feels heartbreakingly counterintuitive and lacking in the level of sincerity required to help Benni.
The film balances its social commentary with a complete story about a bold character who commands her scenes. As Benni, young actor Zengel powers the film through its very perturbing themes with a high level performance that captures the character’s defiance in vulnerability.
System Crasher is exemplary in the way it reconciles topical content with engaging storytelling in its own right; demonstrating the multifunctional value of filmmaking, beyond entertainment.