Michael Ward on Tuesday, May 22
Switzerland's absurdist comedy Streaker has a pretty clever premise. After gambling away the money set aside for sports field renovations, Balz (Beat Schlatter), a part-time teacher and part-time school accountant, concocts a plot with a shady barber, Kushtrim (Bendrit Bajra), to bet on sports.
Well, not actually the sports team themselves. Instead, inspired by a streaker who interrupted a football match, Balz and Kushtrim take bets on how long streakers will survive on the field.
Schlatter co-wrote the script with director Peter Luisi and Streaker is always amusing and ligth-hearted. Unfortunately, the film's premise proves rather flimsy, as Luisi and Schlatter write themselves into a one-joke premise that struggles to sustain a 98-minute running time.
A weak and rather self-serving subplot involving Balz and a police officer/love interest (Doro Müggler) snuffs out a lot of the fun, but there is a carefree nature to this movie that is refreshing. Granted, some of that could be the European flavor the film embraces, but Streaker is a pretty fearless endeavor.
As the two men grow their team of "Flitzers" to include nearly two dozen performers, Streaker has some rather witty observations on fleeting, momentary celebrity, finding a team you can fit in with and the camaraderie and confidence that can come from surrounding yourself with a group of like-minded friends and peers. However, this is also the movie that finds a female character, initially positioned as a woman of substance and agency, reduced to the tired old trope of ignoring everything she believes and acquiescing for the greater good of a man.
But all those other movies didn't have people streaking through soccer stadiums and evading police. So, you know, you get the good and the not so good with Streaker and likely will be smiling so much, you will just want to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Starring: Beat Schlatter, Doro Müggler, Bendrit Bajra, Luna Wedler, Una Rusca.
Director: Peter Luisi
Written by: Peter Luisi, Beat Schlatter
Running Time: 98 Minutes
May 22 | SIFF Cinema Uptown | 9:30 PM
May 24 | Pacific Place | 4:30 PM
May 28 | Shoreline Community College | 8:15 PM