3 June 2005 | cchase
At Last! A Real "Camp" Movie Comes Out...And So Does Its Hero.
First of all, it's incredible that a movie about a summer camp would come out that has a group of teenagers acting like REAL teens, not the idiots you see either in gross-out summer comedies based solely on bathroom and bodily-fluid humor, or with a dozen or more skeevy slackers getting high, getting laid and then getting hacked to bits by some guy in a mask bought from Chammps Sporting Goods.
Viewed at the same Gay Pride Film Festival here in D.C., it was a good opportunity to compare this--a little more serious coming-of-age drama, to the light and fluffy French sex romp "Cote d'Azure." Too bad something like SUMMER STORM isn't made more often here in the States.
It's summer time, and Tobi (the engaging Robert Stadlober) is in a seething state of sexual confusion. He wants to have sex with a girl, but his strongest feelings are reserved for his best bud Achim, (Kostja Ullmann), who in turn is having a hot-and-heavy romance with girlfriend Sandra (Miriam Morgenstern). Meantime, carrying the torch for Tobi is the heartbreakingly beautiful Anke (Alicja Batchleda-Curus), who has absolutely no idea where her intended's head is at. At least, not at first.
The four teens are all on rowing teams, and their coach takes them all to camp, to bond and train for the seasonal rowing trials. Among the rival teams is an all-gay team, the "Queerstrokers," who will soon prove instrumental in the awakening of Tobi, helping him realize who he is and eventually to reconcile the lopsided love triangle he is involved in, which can only produce consequences destined to bring about an unhappy ending.
Not to make the film sound too serious, but it deals with the themes of sexual confusion, exploration and discovery in a natural and non-judgmental way that is so lacking in most American features of this genre. The casting of the actors is just about perfect, as they all look, sound and perform like you would imagine German teens would, who are not that much different from any other young people their age anywhere in the world.
Even if the audience of SUMMER STORM isn't gay, it deals effectively with the kind of emotions and situations that all adults can relate to, back when they were younger, and kids who are the same age as the film's characters can identify with now.
A well-made coming-of-age tale for everyone (except for conservative prudes and pre-teens), definitely worth your time.