Directors – Santiago Lopez Jover, Marcus H. Rosenmüller – 2021 – Austria, Germany – 95m
A young artist with a predilection for large ladies with large breasts finds himself in confrontation with closet Nazi racists – from the Annecy 2021 Animation Festival in the Official Competition section
1968, the small, rural Austrian town of Siegheilkirchen. Teenage schoolboy Snotty Boy (voice: Markus Freistätter) is obsessed with members of the opposite sex. He is equally obsessed with drawing. He combines the two passions in making a flick book of newly arrived in town, large-breasted girl next door Trude (Katharina Straßer) in her underwear so he can watch her remove her bra whenever he wants.
Two boys at school, the enterpreneurial and duplicitous Spotface (Mario Canedo) and his side-kick Grasberger (Maurice Ernst) discover the book and befriend him so he can draw them pictures for sale to the town’s boys. Class swot and tell-tale Fridolin shows a purchased Trude drawing to his mother and gets Snotty Boy in trouble.
Such activities run counter to the way the authorities would have things. The school is run by a repressive priest (Juergen Maurer) who is first seen teaching his bored class of boys St. Paul’s admonition against fornication. Half the adults in the town appear to be dyed-in-the-wool Nazis.
Snotty Boy’s mum (Susi Stach) and dad (Gregor Seburg), the latter possessing only one arm having lost the other in the war, run the local pub. Yet art runs in the family; his Uncle Neidhardt (Wolfgang Böck) painted the town’s mural back in the day and has been commissioned to do a new, updated version. He gives Snotty Boy the job of stirring his paints.
The arrival of young gypsy girl Mariolina (Gerti Drassl) both gets Snotty Boy’s hormones raging and arouses racist sentiments in an element of the older locals who see her and her mother Natascha (Adele Neuhauser) not served then thrown out of Snotty Boy’s father’s pub. Indeed, Kurz the barber (Thomas Stipsits) and his former commanding officer Braunauer (Branko Samarovski) soon hatch a plan to blow up the new gypsy camp outside the town.
The lad takes refuge in a new bar run by Poldi (Roland Düringer) which doesn’t discriminate but serves all potential customers. Including the underage Snotty Boy who is entranced by its juke box.
These multiple intrigues are deftly juggled by a clever script which, like co-director Rosenmüller’s earlier, live action The Keeper (Marcus H. Rosenmüller, 2018) both understands and calls out racism without ever descending into cliché. The tone here is much more humorous however, even if making significant points. Many of the important menfolk make a public stand for ‘decency’ whilst covertly visiting Trude at night (and, as she later admits to Snotty Boy, she needs the money). The Christian religion and its adherents are lampooned, although it’s not hard to see that the self-righteous brand of Christianity portrayed here is a long way from its founder’s intentions. An hilarious finale mixes scatological humour with church and state.
Based on the teenage years of real life Austrian comic artist Manfred Deix (1949 – 2016), this looks set to attract a whole new wave of readers to his works. The drawing component in its subject matter makes the film perfect for animation: the 3D computer form used here seems a good match. A thoroughly entertaining and engrossing little film with much to say beneath its droll surface.
Snotty Boy plays in the Annecy Animation Festival 2021 which is taking place right now in both online and hybrid editions this year in the Official Competition section. The film is not available in the festival’s online version.
Trailer (German with subtitles and English voiceover – much better than it sounds):