No, this is not a new UN directive concerning public nutrition (though it might be a refreshing idea), but it might increase demand for pineapple if Roland Reber and his vlogging protagonist Nikki’s advice to drink more pineapple juice is taken seriously by men across the world.
In his latest film “Der Geschmack von Leben” [Eng. Title: Taste of Life], the maverick filmmaker and his co-conspirators Antje Nikola Mönning and Mira Gittner toast to the life-quality-enhancing properties of ‘cum’ (ok – semen, for the exasperatingly prude), and extol the benefits this symbiotic exchange would entail for men and women alike.
The film’s title illustrates the evolution of Nikki (Antje Nikola Mönning) in the classical image of The Road to Homo Sapiens, accompanied by a soundtrack that’s a knowing wink to Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘The Young Pope’ theme song (Devlin’s Watchtower). The montage culminates with Nikki armed with an iPhone attached to a selfie stick. As you might’ve guessed by now, this is a comedy, with some serious Reber-style bits from his previous films thrown in.
Nikki is an ebullient vlogger, filming and sharing freely her dogging-style sexual encounters, and interviews with random people who readily open up to her. Barely dressed most of the time, she drives through the countryside in a vintage Land Rover looking for ‘victims’, while espousing to the viewer through an in-car camera, her philosophy of sexual living without the restrictions of conventional love and coupling.
Nikki’s interviewees include women of all sorts; some suffer from religious guilt, some jaded in love, some are still waiting for the right man, and some of them, kinky. Nikki’s advice to all of them is to enjoy the ‘taste’ of life in order to be happy. Morality for her is about accepting and rejoicing in sexual pleasure. “My Jesus is a kind Jesus and pleased when I suck dicks”, she’d emphatically claim.
The thrust of the narrative is however Nikki herself; living life to the full and ‘feasting’ on cum on her own terms. When a ‘victim’, hoping for some kind of compliment after generously splashing his cum on her, asks if he was good, Nikki dismissively tells him that as far as she was concerned, he was just another blow-up doll who could come, and to add insult to injury, forewarns him that his ‘cumming’ days are numbered.
Since the dawn of cinema, we’ve had vampires (Nosferatu, Dracula) as an implicit metaphor for women’s need for emancipation, equal rights etc. Later, and as a reaction to feminism, came films depicting women either as oppressors of men in a dystopian future, or as vampires themselves. Reber and Mönning seem to have taken a rather vegan, live-and-let-live approach to post-feminism – no one needs to get killed (and no souls harvested by the devil). What’s more, they’re also promoting pineapple juice, and much like Carla Juri’s pizza-toppings (Feuchtgebiete, 2013), introducing culinary to unusual ingredients, even though they will remain an acquired taste for some.
Male secretions apart, what struck me was the quality of the film’s production. Mira Gittner’s cinematography, colour-grading, and editing is significantly superior to previous efforts, and it shows. The film is funny for most of its duration – in fact it begins with a scene that self-deprecatingly parodies one of Reber’s own earlier films. But what I like most about the film is that it is not pretentious; it doesn’t seek approval for what it is, it doesn’t compromise, and it farts in the general direction of unwritten film convention. Amen to independent cinema, and Recommended Viewing..!
The Nudity: Antje Nikola Mönning, Norman Graue, Iris Boss, René Müller, Alex K, Agnes Thi-Mai, Ute Meisenheimer, and others
Antje Nikola Mönning is naked or partially naked, well, for most of the film, and participates enthusiastically in two explicitly filmed oral sex scenes that few porn veterans, let alone Maitland Ward would equal – Ms. Mönning even explains it all in this interview. René Müller and Alex K are her willing ‘victims’. Norman Graue plays a hilarious naked Jesus. Iris Boss is the hitchhiking young girl who goes skinny dipping with Nikki, and is later groped in a sex bar while performing striptease. Agnes Thai-Mai who kinda reminds one of Alizee if she were younger, voluptuous, and of course naked, spends the entire duration of a song in the nude, begging to be whipped. Ute Meisenheimer briefly appears topless as a mature housewife. Other nude men and women appear in walk-on roles.