Children Underground 2001
1h 44m | Documentary | 5 October 2003 (Australia)
One of the most astonishing and engaging cinematic works of the past decade, CHILDREN UNDERGROUND is a profoundly intimate and heart-wrenching drama about homeless children struggling for survival on the streets and in the subways of Bucharest, Romania.
Böttcher made his graduation film about young people who had become delinquent in a youth work yard in Thuringia. Already here a striking feature of his later films becomes apparent: Jürgen Böttcher gives his protagonists a lot of space; he approaches them without prejudice, empathetically and carefully. In addition, his curiosity can be felt in the life situations and stories of his characters.
The inspiring and tumultuous story of 85-year old surfer, health advocate and sex guru, Dr. Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, his wife Juliette, and their nine children who were all home-schooled and raised in a small camper on the beach, where they surfed and had to adhere to the strict diet and lifestyle of animals in the wild.
When adults are ineffectual, children have to grow up quickly. Ola is 14 and she takes care of her dysfunctional father, autistic brother and a mother who lives separately; but most of all she tries to reunite the family. She lives in the hope of bringing her mother back home. Her 13 year old brother Nikodem’s Holy Communion is a pretext for the family to meet up. Ola is entirely responsible for preparing the perfect family celebration. “Communion” reveals the beauty of the rejected, the strength of the weak and the need for change when change seems impossible. This crash course in growing up teaches us that no failure is final. Especially when love is in question.