Directed by Jan Ole Gerster • Drama • With Tom Schilling, Friederike Kempter • 2014 • 88 minutes
Jan Ole Gerster’s wry and vibrant feature debut A Coffee in Berlin, which swept the 2013 German Oscar Awards, paints a day in the life of Niko, a twenty-something college dropout going nowhere fast. Niko lives for the moment as he drifts through the streets of Berlin, curiously observing everyone around him and oblivious to his growing status as an outsider. Then on one fateful day, through a series of absurdly amusing encounters, everything changes: his girlfriend rebuffs him, his father cuts off his allowance, and a strange psychiatrist dubiously confirms his ’emotional imbalance’. Meanwhile, a former classmate insists she bears no hard feelings toward him for his grade-school taunts when she was “Roly Poly Julia,” but it becomes increasingly apparent that she has unfinished business with him. Unable to ignore the consequences of his passivity any longer, Niko finally concludes that he has to engage with life. Shot in timeless black and white and enriched with a snappy jazz soundtrack, this slacker dramedy is a love letter to Berlin and the Generation Y experience.