Chaostage * Tarek Ehlail (2009)

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The original title seems like a wordplay, but it is actually a German word meaning “chaos days”. The international title is “Warriors Of Chaos”. “Chaostage” is Ehlail’s debut. A name like Tarek Ehlail does not immediately sound like someone who would make a documentary (or mockumentary?) about the early German punkmovement. But he did! The film is constructed of interviews with overaged punkers who were present in the early days, old footage of the events and newly filmed material to serve as a film (being flashbacks). The entire film I had the idea that is was all made up. None of the “legendary” bandnames rang bells and the music sounded more like the modern “punkrock” than the early punk of The Sex Pistols and The Clash. Looking around the world wide web, the “Chaostage” are really a known phenomenon (see here for German and here for a shorter English Wikipedia article), a band like Toxoplasma really existed and reading about these “Chaostage” brings flashes of the film. So contrary to what I thought just after seeing the film, it may actually be based on real events. On to the film then. “Chaostage” is a film with a punk attitude. There is little structure or conformity. It jumps from interviews to animations, to old film footage to newly filmed material to make some sort of story. The punks are displayed as mindless and violent youth with as only interests drinking, destruction, sex and music. We peek into the life of punks that remained punks, how they look back on their past and we also get a little insight in the counter movement which had similar music, but very different ideas (at some points; drinking, destruction and music are also their focus): the skinheads. The film is quite violent at times, it praises the violence of the old days and the mindless ‘dancing’ is displayed with rapid montage. There is weird sex and other hobbies of the main characters (in the past and present), a lot of vomit and a lot of punk (and some oi) music. A very enjoyable film indeed, but not giving much esteem for the punk movement.

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