Watch ‘Christiane F.’ and Never Try Heroin

My parents are either psychopaths or geniuses: they let me watch Christiane F. when I was seven.

Christiane F. is a 1981 biographical film, depicting the West Berlin drug scene in the 1970s. It is very disturbing and my insane parents let me watch it before I was old enough to go to the pool by myself. Based on the non-fiction book Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (We Children from Zoo Station), the film follows Christiane Felscherinow, a 13-year-old girl who lives with her mother, sister and cat in a cramped apartment in a miserable, concrete social-housing building on the outskirts of West Berlin. Christiane hates her life—it’s pretty boring—but when a new night club opens up nearby, Christiane and her girlfriend, Kessi, put on lipstick and heels so they can get in and have some fun. At the club, Christiane is given pills. Later she takes LSD. Then heroin. Then she becomes a prostitute. This is easily the most harrowing movie you will ever watch. The score was composed by the then very thin, white and duke-like David Bowie during his dark and dreary Station to Station period, and the movie actually features Bowie in concert. Christiane F. acquired cult status immediately upon release, but you rarely hear it mentioned these days. Anyway, if you are seven and are thinking about experimenting with heroin, maybe watch this first.

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