War Cries in the Cellar

"Shooting Bourbaki - A boyshooting in Berlin" at the Sophiensaelen

Von Henrike Thomsen

30.04.2002 / Berliner Zeitung

The pupil is on focus for only five seconds. So aim calmly, stand steadily so you don’t move the pistol when it recoils. Valentin, Thomas, Diego, Ahmed and Adrian to shoot for the first time in a shooting gallery in Lucerne. “What happens when the eyes become more narrow and the hands meditate in the air? What do 15-year old boys dream of?“ was the question they were asked by the director-team Haug/Kaegi/Wetzel who filmed this event. The five boys answer with a theatre evening which presents the inner film of the seconds before releasing the trigger.

Haug, Kaegi and Wetzel have already presented theatre with a semi-documentary approach with “Kreuzworträtsel Boxenstopp“ (Crossword Pitstop) at the Mousonturm: it showed the confrontation of the world a home for the elderly with the media presentation of Formula 1 motor racing. This time the team embarks on a similar path: cool, youths explain how the range of sound is measured before they test each other‘s own battle cries. And anyway, they give exact information on their fantasy worlds. Ahmed produces small alien toys and allocates one together with its wonder weapon to each of his comrades. This Boy-Universe lies somewhere inbetween “Star Wars”, “Take that “ and “The Fabulous Five” in which the transition from remote control to imaginary laser canons is a fluent one. The fascination with weapons also creates a bridge into the world of their fathers as policeman and hobby-rifleman. The video filmed in the practice shooting cellar in Lucerne is shown while the boy gang re-enact their male initiation rituals and announce their latest secret knowledge. You can only stand comfortably in your shooting outfit with a gun raised to your shoulder. Ten on the target is “just as big as the blind spot in your eye”. Every Swiss schoolboy must know that money is the best weapon. This is the essence of the Bourbaki-legend, the General who granted soldiers from Paris asylum during the French-German War – and charged a million.

“Shooting Bourbaki” uses the weapon-theme as an interface of diverse male models of socialization and lets the adolescents talk about it. Theatre evening couldn’t be more gripping.


Shooting Bourbaki