A bored teen living in council housing in West Berlin, teenager Christiane F.'s (Brunckhorst) discovery of nightclubbing and designer drugs leads her into a life of addiction.
“At 12, it was angel dust. At 13, it was heroin. Then she took to the streets.” So screamed the tagline for Christiane F., Uli Edel’s debut feature, which documents the nosedive of an average German girl (Natja Brunckhorst) from normal teen-rebel stuff (playing records too loud) to selling her body on the streets.
Edel never shies away from the lurid or grim — junkies scramble over toilet cubicles to steal Christiane’s needle, Christiane and her boyfriend vomit all over each other going cold turkey — and it’s a committed performance from young Brunckhorst. But what Edel fails to do is apply some of the incisive intelligence he syringed into The Baader Meinhof Complex. It is also difficult to imagine any time that you’d be in the right mood to watch it.
For all Christiane F.'s verite bleakness, it's hard to imagine a time when you'd actually be in the mood to see it.