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‘Naked Animals’: Film Review

‘Naked Animals’: Film Review

“Coming of age” is a demure, blushing phrase and so quite unsuited to the fat lips and cracked foreheads of Melanie Waelde’s visceral, exposed-nerve debut. And yet, loosely speaking, it’s what “Naked Animals” tracks: a short, painful, hesitant phase in the lives of five wild teenagers living largely without adult supervision. In a provincial nowhere, geographically near Berlin but spiritually half a galaxy away, the rituals that have evolved among this little wolfpack are so incomprehensible to outsiders as to make them seem like aliens, giving Waelde’s unmistakably personal film the feel of a particularly bruising work of vaguely dystopian ethnography.

Caged into the square frames of Fion Mutert’s punchy, hotheaded camerawork, the focus of the film, which is far stronger in its charismatic, contradictory characterizations than in plot, is Katja (Marie Tragousti). She is a troubled young woman whose main outlet, as she faces down

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