Watching Axolotl Overkill is not unlike watching Godard’s Breathless in 1960, or Scorsese’s Mean Streets in 1973. An instant adrenaline immersion in a new way of making movies, a different way of being in the world. Only this time, one of those differences is gender. Director Helene Hegemann was 17 when she wrote the novel Axolotl Overkill is based on, which became a best-seller in her native Germany. And now, still under 25, she’s directed her first film, a vibrant, convention-defying adaptation of that autobiographical novel. Sixteen-year-old Mifti (an unbelievably convincing 27-year-old Jasna Fritzi Bauer) is the axolotl of the title — a Mexican salamander forever in its species’ typically larvae form. She doesn’t grow up because she already has. School bores her. Kindness and sensitivity numbs her. Life’s become a quest for the next high of excitement whether that’s an hour at the club or a three-day disappearing act at a locale even she can’t remember. And the one person she truly seeks to spend it with is a woman she can’t have. Of all the fleeting relationships built to not be lonely it is only Alice who can make her feel. Who cares if she’s a forty-something white-collar criminal? She seems the one person who understands her as a human being and not a silly teen acting out in dangerous ways. “Hegemann’s brash picture burns brightly to the very end. If Axolotl Overkill ever overdoses on its dreamy, feverish style, it’s trainwreck-y, can’t-turn-away qualities ultimately rise and consumes you like a blaze of youth in revolt”—Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist.
Sponsored by Chris Rusnov & Bobby Hayes
Germany 2017 – Digital Projection – 94 Minutes
Director, Screenplay: Helene Hegemann
Producers: Hanneke Van der Tas, Alain de la Mata
Cast: Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Arly Jover, Laura Tonke
Based on a novel by: Helene Hegemann
Print courtesy: FilmRise