There are issues that a director can not release. In the case of Jan Hinrik Drevs it is the combination of cute and four-legged tough guys who sit in jail. Seven years ago the documentary Dogsworld in which the director describes specific rehabilitative program of its kind in a New York prison, called “Puppies Behind Bars” (in German: “Puppies Behind Bars”) for: There was to have been incarcerated felons Blindenhundeführern trained – and showed surprising changes in the final interviews: the tough guys were softened, had learned to deal with responsibility and commit to a good cause.

Of course, the results were not equate with a successful reintegration, but at least they made the first step – if the detainee was in the area of reintegration at all possible. Drevs was the atmosphere in the special high-security section of the tract and the close emotional ties, built up the prisoners to the dogs, so impressed him that the idea since then not letting go. With the Underdogs Drevs now presents a feature film that combines the unwieldy subject of rehabilitation stereotypes with refreshing observations of everyday prison – an experiment which, like “Puppies behind bars succeeded” is welcome.

The prisoner Mosk (Thomas Sarbacher, who as a performer of the SAT1 TV series The elephant – never barred Murder rather on the other side of the law is.) Is a guy like a bear: enormous A muscular package and a rugged appearance quickly make it clear that this man is not good to eat cherries. Scruples or feelings do not even show Mosk, because it applies in the harsh prison life as a sign of weakness. And the prison is the wrong place – who here shows weakness, easily falls under the wheels and can be found quickly at the lower end of the prison hierarchy again. Dumb only that precisely Mosk, who are obsessively for gefängnisinternen trained in weightlifting championships, will participate in accordance with the wishes of the prison director Gloria Cornelius (Clelia Sarto) on a project in which inmates train puppies to be guide dogs. But the more the opposition of manslaughter sentenced to participate, the more resolute, the director insists, and otherwise threatening the closure of the prison championships.

Reluctantly lets himself Mosk one for the new job and starts with Doner (Kida Ramadan), Bounce (Ingo Naujoks) and Forster (Thorsten Merten) training, which is led by the guard dog trainer (Hark Bohm) . When a relationship – do not want to set the basis for the successful training – between Mosk and his four-legged protégé, threatening the collapse of the entire project. The pressure on Mosk gets bigger, not only by the director, but also by his fellow …

cute little dogs and the harsh prison life – a combination that could easily go wrong. Has to offer at Jan Hinrik Drevs’ underdogs but came of it with some reservations an unusual prison movie, more than in many movies and television shows popular cliches about life behind bars. That the film not only by the undeniable charm of the cute little dog is alive, not only because of Drevs’ sovereign direction and the script, the atmospheric density auftrumpft with much dialogue and wit, but also a committed ensemble of actors, where before all Thomas Sarbacher as aloof and closed killers like.

Without the handle into the emotional mothballs but also comes from this film is not, and you wonder once again why today nearly every story of a love story to be on or devalued. “Human interest” in all honesty, but the story of the unusual project would also be suggestive without the love story works and takes the film much of its authenticity and credibility.

The Oldenburg Film Festival, the film celebrates a very special way world premiere and was jointly presented in the great hall of the JVA Oldenburg prison inmates and visitors to the selected film festivals.

(Paul Collmar)

Title: Underdogs Country of production: Germany Year of production: 2007 Length: 92 (Min) of material: (# ) color film rental

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