Friday, March 24th, 2023

Queerguru’s Andrew Hebden reviews DRIFTER ‘a tale of someone moving from being the outsider to the insider” at BFI Flare


The final film of the 2023 BFI Flare is Drifter and, it has to be said, it’s a delicious side-eyeing choice from the programmers to have the final film be one that leaves you thinking ‘where is this going?’ for the first 60 minutes of its 79-minute length.

Moritz (Lorenz Hochhuth) moves to Berlin to be with his boyfriend. He stands out. When his boyfriend dumps him there are plenty of other people who are interested. Those people are all citizens of bohemian, clubbing, sexually liberated, artsy Berlin. Achingly and effortlessly cool. Moritz flits aimlessly between moments that capture this free living spirit. He snorts ketamine on the beach with an Only Fans star and his female partner. He rescues someone from a G-induced stupor by sticking a finger of speed up their ass. He dances in a shower with a dozen other people, high as a rainbow. He has sex with a bisexual couple. He performs BDSM humiliation acts on a willing paying customer. 

There is a sense in the film that all its scenes could be played in any order. There is no explicit thread of a storyline. This is frustrating for most of the time. It throws up questions about who to care about and why. There is no particular place to focus. Then its point starts to present itself. Moritz has no particular aim in his life. He is a Drifter. But the things he does change him. In the last 20 minutes of the film, the change becomes clear. He has moved from outsider to insider. He has gone from standing out to fitting in. We are not given the backstories of any of the Berlin archetype characters. Moritz becomes their backstory. The things he did must be like the things they did in order for them to be where they are now and who they are now. It’s a pleasingly subtle way of storytelling.

Director Hannes HIrsch’s film is almost documentary in style, but hanging in the air is the question of whether it is being satirical. The characters and the scenes are so on the nose. The artists do their art. The club kids do their clubs. The sexually liberated, well, they do everyone. However, If it is being satirical it does it without being snide or judgemental and It sits back and lets the audience decide. If it’s not satire it may just be the veneer that outsiders see because they are not part of it.

So, cheers to the Flare Festival’s final choice. A tale of someone moving from being the outsider to the insider because of the things they have done and the things they have seen. A clear and appropriate message for its diverse and inclusive programming.



Queerguru Contributing Editor ANDREW HEBDEN is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing, and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement, he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre, and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.


for full reviews of over 1500 queer films check out www.queerguru.com and whilst you are there be sure to subscribe to get all the latest raves and rants on queer cinema …best of all its FREE 


BFI FLARE Film Fest began on 3/15 and will end on 3/26. To see the whole program and book tickets check out  https://www.bfi.org.uk/

Posted by queerguru  at  10:01


Genres:  drama, international

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