Lose Your Head Stefan Westerwelle & Patrick Schuckmann
Published May 19, 2013Early on in the sexual submission thriller, Lose Your Head, Luis (Fernando Tielve), a Spanish party tourist enjoying the hostel experience in Berlin, asks some locals for directions. Annoyed, they respond with, "another Spaniard?" This sentiment seems to be shared throughout Germany in the context of this film, with Spanish tourist excitedly banding together ("it's like half of Madrid is here!") while the locals do their best to ignore them or exclude them from clubbing events.
Once this tone is established, Luis weasels his way into a club by ditching his friends and latching on to a snooty local girl. Inside, he snorts some lines with her and her band of peculiarly matched drug addict friends and meets Viktor (Marko Mandic), an illegal Slavic man that he pursues despite having a well-adjusted but busy boyfriend back in Spain.
From here, the ominous voice noting that the drugs will make you "lose your head" essentially guides the psycho-thriller trajectory, with Luis allowing Viktor to shave his head, order him around and generally operate as a menacing and unpredictable sexual companion. This thrill of submission is heightened by the introduction of Elena (Sesede Terziyan) and Kostas (Stavros Yagoulis), two Greeks in Berlin searching desperately for their missing brother (and cousin), Dimitri, who looks suspiciously like Luis with his post-"pup" makeover.
As the paranoia heightens and Luis vacillates between trusting and suspecting his dominant lover, lies, manipulations and conveniences arise, as does a decapitated body in the river that may or may not be Dimitri.
While Lose Your Head has a relatively static aesthetic composition outside of the club, there's an off-kilter sense of reality that's omnipresent. Berlin is a large city, yet Luis can barely get around a corner without running into people from the club. This becomes particularly confounding during the third act when he slips in an out of consciousness, fleeing from both his lover and a group of people accusing him of assault.
What reality is present outside of Luis' head is never particularly clear, but what is clear are the moralistic sensibilities of the film, which chastise the loss of control, whether they be related to sex, drugs or even travel tourism. In addition to working as an admonitory or deterrent for party tourism—and immigration—throughout Europe there's a Judeo-Christian sensibility to it all, condemning the weak-willed for giving in to their desires and curiosities.
As such, the fluidity of sexuality and presentation of homosexuality as a deviant act is almost contradictory to the dominant scopophilic gaze, which objectifies Luis when not capturing raw sexuality as a monstrosity. Eroticism is tinged with fear, which suggests an understanding of the fetish depicted but it's as though directors Stefan Westerwelle and Patrick Schuckmann are as aroused as they are morally outraged by the concept.
And since their energies are focuses on the deterioration of reality in relation to abandon and desire, the actual storyline tends to meander and repeat, wavering away from genuine tension despite attempting to be a psychological thriller, which makes for frustrating, somewhat forgettable, viewing, aside from the occasional sensationalist act. (Mutter-Film)