Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

VIFF movie review: This Ain’t California

This Ain’t California

4 out of 4 stars

This Ain't California
Directed by
Marten Persiel

The sign of a great documentary is being able to tell an epic story, such as the fall of Communism, in a simple, very human narrative. And that's what Marten Persiel has done in this moving look at a group of skateboarding friends from 1980s East Germany. The 2011 death of the group's ringleader, Denis Paracek, is an opportunity for the skateboarders – now in their 40s – to reminisce (with the help of brilliant archival footage) about their friend and that time of dramatic change. "Skating was liberation," as one friend puts it, yet unlike simply rebelling against their parents – as counterparts in California were doing – the East German youth were rebelling against a corrupt system. The authorities took the threat seriously, as one archival clip proves: "Skateboarding," intones the announcer on a state-run broadcast, "creates an amorality, skepticism and egocentric individualism that we do not need in our socialist collectives."

Oct. 2, 6:45 pm, Pacific Cinematheque; Oct. 3, 1:30 pm Pacific Cinematheque

Report an error Licensing Options

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨