Recently, Netflix films have often had such a conservative corporate design as the Netflix logo. Everything according to scheme F. Or according to scheme N. Apparently the most popular among Netflix bosses: the traveling circus film genre. Regardless of whether Matthias Schweighöfer (“Army of Thieves”) or Ryan Gosling (“The Gray Man”), you have to travel halfway around the world and shoot at least once, as if the number of locations decides the quality of a film. Spoilers: they probably don’t.
Anyone who only zaps in with gentle Netflix fatigue because good old television is only showing “crime scene” reruns could be positively surprised again by “Buba”. The film is such an odd tragic comedy from the deepest bowels of madness that one is immediately willing not to write off Netflix entirely as a laboratory for impressive experiments.
Because of an accident, the brother no longer speaks German, but Austrian
Buba is a character from the very successful (and also very good) German Netflix series “How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)“, of which there are already three seasons. But don’t worry, you don’t have to know her to watch this spin-off. The petty criminal Buba, who in the series, together with the local Albanian mafia, runs the synthetic drug business in in the fictional small town of Rinsel was never intended to be a main character.On the contrary, he dies at the end of the first season after a few bizarre guest appearances in what should be, to put it mildly, an industrial accident.
The film offshoot “Buba” also begins with this, but then quickly switches to the past to tell the story of this man. Because Buba, played by the wonderful Bjarne Mädel, had won so many fans through the series despite the small role that the creators wanted to tell more about his life.
Buba, we learn, is actually called Jakob Otto and has been a case for behavioral therapy for a long time. As a child, he enters a dance competition (which, the ways of the Lord is inscrutable, includes young Leonardo DiCaprio) and has a great day. But on that day his parents die in a car accident.
His self-analysis: If he is having a good time, something bad will happen to other people. So he makes a pact with himself. He wants to treat himself as badly as possible in the future in order to enable others to lead a good life. With this method he wants to save his brother Dante (Georg Friedrich) from misfortune. Together they make Buba’s everyday life as uncomfortable as possible while building a moderately successful career as a provincial con artist. But this self-tormenting system is put to the test when Buba meets an old childhood sweetheart. It turns out to be quite complicated to woo them and let it go as badly as possible. Luckily she’s a tattoo artist, so at least a little bit of pain can be incorporated into the flirting.
First of all, that sounds like stuff that you could make a flawless, viewer-torturing ARD Wednesday problem film with, ugh, message. But director Arne Feldhusen and the team of producers and authors of “bildundtonfabrik”, who also already “How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)” and recently did “King of Stonks”.fortunately tell this story as a tragi-comic fairy tale.
This includes a form of humor that you have to like. But when that is the case, one becomes very satisfied. For example, it doesn’t make sense that the German actor Bjarne Mädel and the Austrian actor Georg Friedrich should be socialized brothers together, but one speaks German and the other Austrian. The solution lovingly built into the screenplay: the brother suffered an insidious form of brain trauma as a result of an accident, which punishes him from now on by speaking a particularly shy Austrian.
This humor tradition continues. The local Albanian mafia does not consist of a single Albanian, only Germans who believe that other Germans are particularly afraid of Albanians. And the big, superordinate Albanian mafia isn’t made up of Albanians either, because – oh, it’s complicated.
This little film comes between the summer slump and the winter gas corona apocalypse, which, with a running time of 90 minutes, is also exactly the length for which you can still muster something like concentration, at least just right.
Buba, Germany 2022 – Director: Arne Feldhusen. Book: Sebastian Colley, Isaiah Michalski. Camera: Yoshi Heimrath. Editing: Benjamin Ikes, Rainer Nigrelli. With: Bjarne Mädel, Georg Friedrich, Anita Vulesica, Soma Pysall, Maren Kroymann. Netflix, 90 minutes.