Movie Review: An Anarchist's Guide to "Teenage Angst"

Guest Post By Airplane

Movie Still - Teenage Angst (2008) 
With beauty and material wealth, The German 4 has the vehicle upon which they can explore their hedonistic nature. It is almost an imperative of those supposedly blessed with such genes and economic excess to sink in the Bacchanalian pool. Hedonism, in this case, most certainly answers to a big Other, especially when one has been obstructed which creates the complexity of the plot: Punishing those who disrupt the adult swim. Even if it's one of your own. The Big Other demands we keep appearances and maintain the order.

The Boarding School serves as Superego and their hidden Dacha as the Id. The Superego is meticulously maintained. Large but filled with an unshakable void which creates tense moments. The bodies seen in the seats are far much fewer than the possibility, most likely emphasizing what kind of extravagance attends. The Id, on the other hand, is messy, lit with the seducing red lights, and filled with accumulated junk from the outside. It is out of order, which fits the behavior. In the school, the men are distanced in the discussion. Far apart. At the Dacha they are close, hinting severe homo-eroticism, planning their future as kings and treating each other as ersatz subjects to practice their future tyranny (the first example is Bogatsch barking like a dog, while two other members spank him on the ass). Their interaction is a non-sexual orgy of Roman Empire lows.

The power from the beginning is established as being in the hands of Dyrbusch in the group. The sycophancy of Bogatsch is seen in the dog barking scene. He accepts the position without question. Once Leibnitz prevents Bogatsch from performing rape on Vaneska, his hedonistic excess receives no release and thus he is threatened. The punishment seems light at first, a slap and his eventual apology but the movie escalates to Salo-like proportions: bondage, punching, to sexual humiliation/rape with Stumer at odds at this paradox of where his allegiance in the power structure lies. At the top with Dyrbusch, or at the bottom, professing his mercy for Leibnitz. But Leibnitz fully accepts his position of masochistic pride and brushes off rebellious ideas from Stumer, the only one left questioning the rising tide of violence. Is this not what we question daily from the civilized point of view? Countries doing things, you are part of it, see injustice, and sit idly by because society imposes the group above all else? The country, the state above all else? Their punishment is internal, as these things such as betrayal must be dealt with behind closed doors only within the realm of the Id. We don't even see the bruises until the Mentor lifts the shirt of Leibnitz who finally sees the brutality of what occurs in the unchecked rooms of the excess-power teenager.

The violence in Leibnitz grows from a childish plea for "momma" into a deathly blow to their mentor, where his attitude is of repentance. We too deal with this transference of authority powers to inner angst to outer destruction. Lack of freedoms bursting out into rebellion jeopardy with other forms of law. Those with the lack (economic, phallic, social) raging against others to replace it in violent mediums. You see that Leibnitz has flashbacks of his prior tortures and unwanted touches when the mentor is seen doing the same thing. The mentor's aid is mistranslated and is met with consequence. Such is fate. Innocent victims in the chaotic path of authority's bale movements.

Airplane, otherwise known as Chancellor Karla, is a digital and sound artist who currently lives in the District of Columbia.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hey,
    I wanted to thank airplane for posting stuff on stones of erasmus.

    I really dig your review, man.

    I was unsure how to interpret the "barking dog" scene. But, I think you are right ... it is like they are attempting to create their own fucked up version of the status quo, kinda of like a inverted superego.

    Also, I find it funny that the DVD cover art is so provocative, but, the film is not all as supple as the cover image of the two protagonists seems to suggest. False Marketing!