Free swimmer (film)
|Country of production
The 15-year-old Rico Bartsch is a clear outsider and loner at his school, the Kafka-Gymnasium: He has a severe hearing problem and does not have the desired success in sport - his strength lies more in the creative field. While swimming, he is beaten by his rival Robert Greiner and also fails the free swimmer test . Not only is Robert his greatest rival in sports, he is also the friend of the attractive Regine, with whom Rico is secretly in love. Rico lives with his widowed mother, who has a relationship with Rico's hated sports teacher Richard Sammer. Rico's father, a drinker, drowned in front of Rico's eyes in an accident. The mother and Sammer were also there and watched the drowning without doing anything.
One day Rico finds a love bone in a bag hanging on his locker. Robert reaches for the love bone without being asked and dies shortly afterwards. It later turns out that the pastry was poisoned. Rico doesn't particularly shake Robert's death. He's even happy that he's finally got rid of the unpopular tyrant. When it turns out that the love bone was actually intended for Rico, this suddenly becomes the focus. Rico decides not to go to school for a while and instead prefers to help out in his mother's pharmacy. The fact that he cannot get a job as a train driver because of his hearing impairment makes him even more inclined to go to school.
In order not to miss any learning material, Rico decides to get tutoring from his always friendly art and German teacher, Martin Wegner. The two outsiders get on very well and develop a friendly relationship. The two are united by their love for model making as well as their difference. Martin Wegner lives alone in the remote villa of his deceased parents in the forest. Although he loves the music teacher Michaela Rammelow, he refuses to let her into his house. He justifies this with the fact that he needs absolute rest for his work, the subject of which is silence. He is fascinated by the fact that Rico, who has a hearing problem, can experience the silence without any problems when he switches off his hearing aid.
Together with Wegner, Rico begins to make a doll that should look like Regine. One evening Rico is lured into an ambush by Regine and tormented by her and her friends, because Regine is convinced that Rico is responsible for Robert's death. After Regine's friends release him, he fled to Wegner. This shows him a secret - a detailed replica of Rico's entire class. He convinces Rico that if he would destroy the model dolls he could reduce all his hatred. After Rico dismantled Regine's model into its individual parts, Michaela, Wegner's friend, appears. Since Regine's model is already broken, Michaela, tied up, has to serve as a "replacement doll". Then Rico and Martin Wegner destroy all the dolls and finally Wegner cuts his girlfriend's throat with a dagger. Wegner does not regret the act and only says that he now knows what the absolute calm would feel like. When Wegner mentions that he still has a bill to settle in Tübingen, where he studied, Rico gets scared. That same evening, Rico is cunningly attacked by Sammer, his archenemy and partner of his mother. However, he manages to push the PE teacher into the river. However, he saves Sammer after he is pelted with stones by Rico's classmates. It is now clear to Regine that Rico cannot be responsible for Robert's murder.
The next day, Rico comes back to Wegner, because he has promised him to come to Tübingen with him. After Rico Wegner confessed to Robert's murder, he poisoned his teacher with a love bone in the same way that Robert was killed. Rico covers his tracks and makes everything look as if Wegner had killed himself.
In the final scene the school party is shown, for which everyone has been preparing for a long time. Shortly before the end of the film, Regine confesses to the supposedly innocent Rico that she loves him, and so Rico's wish and dream come true.
"The anachronistic-looking criticism of the West German bourgeoisie takes on an appealing mix of genres and top-class actors, but ultimately only offers moralistic theater of evidence in the form of a provincial grotesque."
- Freischwimmer in the Lexicon of International Films