Center of My World | Mardi Gras FF
It has begun, my annual LGBTI home reviewing fest in the line up to my favourite film festival of the year. The Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival. Welcome to the 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival. Queer Screen have almost one hundred screenings across Sydney, Canberra and regional NSW this year. 2017’s film festival runs from February 15th to March 2nd and as usual I will bite off more than I can chew in reviewing these fantastic films. For more information, the program and to buy tickets click HERE.
It was an easy choice for first film to view and review this year. My Number 3 movie of 2016 was a movie called LAND OF MINE. It starred a young actor with skills beyond his years. Louis Hoffman also stars in CENTER OF MY WORLD – as soon as I made the connection I had to see this movie.
BY JASON KING
CENTER OF MY WORLD PLOT:
Phil and his twin sister Dianne have had an unconventional childhood, living in an overgrown mansion, raised by their fascinating and polarising mother, Glass, in regional/suburban Germany. Both twins are been plagued by a desire to learn the identity of their American father, something Glass keeps close to her heart.
Phil soon embarks on his first foray into love with the perfect, sculpted adonis, Nicholas, who transfers to his school. The relationship seems to set Phil free. Along with his wild best friend Katja, the three of them embody and evoke youth at its finest, most perfect moments.
Phil needs to figure out what he wants, what matters to him and most importantly, what the centre of his world really is. His journey to find this answer is meaningful, heartrending, and beautiful to behold.
Based on an engrossing adaptation of Andreas Steinhoefel’s German YA novel, CENTER OF MY WORLD (DIE MITTE DER WELT) is one of the most realistic modern day coming of age stories I have seen. It explores the different motives of all the characters and doesn’t just focus on the “gay” relationship of Phil and Nicholas. The tale is viewed through his eyes and everything that effects him. As the story is about him trying to find the centre of his world we bounce between multiple players who all hold an orbit in his universe. The mother, Glass, has a tale as interesting as Phil’s, the Aunties, also interesting. The sister, the best friend, the new father figure, the missing biological father, the bae, all important. As a mini-series this could be explored so well, and personally I would love to remain in the universe longer.
That being said what they do with the move is sometimes cramped, but beautiful. Director, Jakob M. Erwa, weaves a fantastic tale. I love the magic of the story flashing back to his first crush and gay realisation when he was about four or five and how this weaves into the current story. The cinematography from The Chau Ngo captures a youthful magical time in their lives and also captures a stunning German town. The family lives a bit out of town in a somewhat regional slightly crumbling bohemian castle of sorts that isn’t far from the suburban town. It is basically my ideal life.
The film wouldn’t be as enjoyable if it wasn’t for the cast. Louis Hoffman is a cinematic revelation and I cannot wait to see what he does next. His range between LAND OF MINE and CENTER OF MY WORLD is impressive. His looks are basically young Leo, his skill on track to being as good. He is a pin-up with talent – the world is his oyster. Jannik Shuemann is also a pin-up heartthrob with a body to make your heart skip a beat, they don’t hold back in this movie, you see everything, definitely a European movie. Shuemann plays a much darker character in this one, a heart destroyer in the making. He does it well but is hard to empathise with this character.
Sabine Timoteo as Glass was my next favourite character, she reminded me of Rousseau from LOST but not as insane. I would have loved to have seen the backstory and the reason for her leaving the biological father. I need to track down a translated copy of the book. Svenja Jung was decent and fun as Kat but she fell more into the background and the sister’s entire subplot was odd, but well played by Ada Philine Stappenbeck. While Erwa tried to put all the plot points in CENTER OF MY WORLD it caused a couple of them to not realise their potential. Something, again, a mini-series would resolve, ideally in the vein of TALES OF THE CITY.
CENTER OF MY WORLD is a beautiful German coming of age film starring one of its brightest and dazzling up and coming stars. The story is solid but a book can manage multiple plot points, the movie got swamped by a few too many. That being said life is abundant concurrent plot points, none of which is convenient to your other plot points. As such CENTER OF MY WORLD is one of the closest real-life-like tales in the genre.
Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan.
** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.