“COMBAT GIRLS explores growth and maturation, but it also details the ways in which a strong woman exists in a staunchly misogynist culture and how she begins to remove herself from it.” - Britt Hayes, ScreenCrush
The debut feature from director-writer David Wnendt is a bleak tale of two girls who, for very different reasons, get swept up in the resurgent Neo-Nazi movement in Germany.
In many ways, Marisa is a normal working-class German teen. She lives with her mother and works at the family store. She also adores her sickly grandfather, an ex-Nazi soldier, and Adolf Hitler. Marisa, along with her brutal skinhead boyfriend Sandro, are fierce promoters of the Nazi cause—their bodies are adorned with elaborate Third Reich tattoos, they hurl racist epithets at strangers, and occasionally back up their hateful words with violent acts. In contrast, Svenja is an apolitical suburban girl. Her rebellious tendencies manifest in mostly benign ways like smoking cigarettes in secret. Svenja finds a boyfriend who travels in Marisa’s circle of friends, and eventually Marisa and Svenja’s paths intersect in ominous ways.
COMBAT GIRLS, which premiered at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, represents a new wave of European films exploring the contemporary impact of the Nazi era. Specifically, the film explores young women’s attempts to find their individuality amongst a set of competing generational influences. COMBAT GIRLS pulls no punches. The film submerges the audience in the underground world of skinheads and racist ideologues. Composer Johannes Repka even created faux Neo-Nazi punk music specifically for the film. This attention to authenticity is not done for the purpose of sensationalism, but to support the film’s compelling story and complex characters. COMBAT GIRLS is a powerful nuanced work by a dynamic new voice in German cinema. (Rodney Perkins)