Tobias Baumann (Frederick Lau) is a troubled kid – and there is a reason for that. His family is not as well off as those of the other kids at his school and the boys in his class enjoy picking on him because of his social status. The fact that he doesn’t know who his father is, in addition to having a young but careless mother (too young to have a teenage son anyway), does not help either. That is why it’s not too surprising when Tobias, tired of being radiculed for things he has no control of, loses his nerve . His schoolmates call that “becoming anti social” – but can you blame him ? I could not – he has no choice, but to try to cope with life alone…
Alone, that is, until one day he meets a man who moves into the neighboring apartment. They buddy up, and when the kids at school start to pick on him again for having no father, Tobias comes up with the idea to present his neighbor, Max Feldkamp, to his classmates – claiming that Max is his father. The lie causes some consequences – as it increases the chances of further complications in the life of the thirteen-year-old teenager. Is his new neighbor suitable for a father figure? Will he even consider playing such a role?
This is the premise in the German film Second Hand Child (Wer küsst schon einen Leguan?). The film is powerful and touching and is guaranteed to evoke a whole range of emotions from its viewers (and may even induce a few tears in their eyes). The action is set in an urban ghetto in Eastern Germany and the soundtrack, predominantly German rap addressing social issues, perfectly suits the film’s theme.
The young Frederick Lau delivers an outstanding performance in the role of Tobias and, if you see the film, it’s likely that he will leave quite an impression on you with his natural performance in the dramatic and turbulent situations in which his character finds himself. The film has an immense coming of age value as the story of a young boy striving for things that all children should be entitled to – love, friendship and attention. The power in Second Hand Child does not lie in special effects and similar cinematic tricks, but rather in the powerful story of the life of an ordinary boy having to deal with issues many children have to deal with, bullying being just one of them, though by far the most significant .
Second Hand Child is one of the best German dramas I have ever seen and I highly recommend it to the readers of theskykid.com. The film has received acknowledgements from various festivals in Germany and abroad, winning the European Children’s Film Prize and the Audience Award in 2003 and the “Best Children’s Film” at the Children’s Film Festival “Golden Sparrow”.
Film title: Wer küßt schon einen Leguan?
Also known as : Second Hand Child
Release year: 2003 – Children’s Film GmbH , MDR
Director: Karola Hattop
Cast: Frederick Lau,Michael von Au,Antje Westermann,Mario Irrek,Justine del Corte,Dirk Schoedon,Carina Hinzen,Sven Lubeck and others