Rage / Wut
Year of release: 2006
Directed by: Züli Aladag
Züli Aladag's controversial made-for-television film Rage imagines the encounter between a white middle-class German family and a young Turkish migrant, who intrudes into the family and terrorises them, as an escalation of violence that challenges the liberal values of the hegemonic family.
Set in Berlin, the film tells the story of Can, the adolescent son of a Turkish greengrocer and the Laub family, consisting of middle-aged university professor Simon Laub, his attractive estate agent wife Christa and their teenage son Felix. Felix is an over-protected ‘mummy’s boy’ and a loner without siblings or friends. He gets bullied by Can, from whom he buys drugs, but at the same time, he is drawn to him because the gang leader Can with his macho behaviour, confidence and ‘street cred’ represents the kind of hyper-masculinity that Felix finds lacking in his father and in himself. When Simon Laub discovers that Can is bullying his defenceless son, he gets embroiled in the conflict and becomes the chief target of Can’s hatred and aggression, while Felix is confused as to which side to take. In a final showdown, reminiscent of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (Austria 1997; US remake 2007), Can holds the Laub family hostage in their own living room and forces them to play a sadistic ‘family game’: Simon Laub is given a gun and can choose whom to kill – himself or his wife – in order to save Felix’s life, whom Can holds prisoner with a sharp blade at his throat. In utter despair, Simon pulls the trigger – and finds that the gun is not loaded. Following further verbal abuse, Can lets go of Felix and walks out – the game is over. In a state of shock and rage, Simon Laub attacks Can and drowns him in the swimming pool. Upon realising that he has actually killed Can, he breaks down and cries inconsolably. Not only has he taken the life of someone, he has also betrayed the values on which his whole existence was founded.