A comedy about streaking sounds like a joke that would run out of steam fast. When introducing Flitzer (aka Streaker) at the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival in San Francisco, the announcer acknowledged the Swiss stereotype of being so serious all the time. He then proceeded to tell the one Swiss joke that exists, which I didn’t get. And then he closed by asking us to enjoy the film despite all the nudity. Talk about setting low expectations…
At first, the film lumbers along slowly, as we evidence the sorry existence of high school teacher Balthasar Näf (played by Beat Schlatter). In his commitment to build a Gottfried Keller museum, Näf bets the school’s athletic field funding on an FC Baden game. He knows the outcome has been fixed by his Albanian barber, who runs a betting shop. But all the money is lost when the striker’s shot is waylaid by a streaker.
Working with the barber (Facebook star Bendrit Bajra), Nãf races to earn back the money by setting up bets on how long a streaker can stay on the field. (The theater audience begins to titter nervously.) Näf needs more bets and more streakers. As he figures out how to recruit and train streakers, the pace picks up. (The theater audience laughter swells.) The league becomes outraged, a special police unit is formed to capture the Flitzer gang, and the silliness becomes logically delightful. Näf falls for the head of the investigation, and it seems that, like a Gottfried Keller story, all must end in tragedy. By the end, I actually had tears running down my face.
Perhaps the funniest soccer movie ever
But they were tears of laughter. Flitzer is such a clever story–although it’s not really a family film, due to the long-distance full frontal nudity and a loud sex scene. But the pastiche of flawed characters and detailed plot mechanisms fit together like a Swiss watch that gives you an excellent time. Flitzer is perhaps the funniest soccer movie I have reviewed.
There is not much soccer in the movie, but they film the streakers on many club pitches. I couldn’t recognize any of the teams, but I’m sure Swiss league fans will. The FC Baden GK who tries to throw the game is really a former GK for FC St.Gallen, Jörg Stiel. This is the second football film I’ve seen that included parkour (see Teufelskicker ). There is a short behind-the-scenes vimeo on how Beat Schlatter’s streaking run was filmed in an empty Stade de Suisse (Wankdorf stadium).
BTW, I discovered there really is a Gottfried Keller museum, but I guess the joke is to have both a Gottfried Keller and a FIFA museum in the same town.
9 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 9