Also Known As: Tagebuch einer Siebzehnjährigen (1979)
Jürgen Enz, who made tons of unfunny porn comedies (like DIE LIEBESVÖGEL and KOHLPIESELS TÖCHTER) under the pseudonym “Kenneth Howard”, reverted back to his real name for this wannabe sensitive sex drama which unintentionally packs far more laughs than his supposed rib-ticklers.
Kicking off with a nauseatingly syrupy ballad that has some two-bit crooner endlessly repeating “Young Love, Hot Love” (incidentally also the film’s title on the copy I came across at the dilapidated ABC theater in Brussels where it happened to be playing only last week !) that’ll keep turning up in various instrumental renditions throughout, this movie tells the heartrending coming of age story of pretty 15-year old Hamburg schoolgirl Elke (“Sonja Engels” a/k/a Sylvia Engelmann, whose résumé boasts such gems as the mountains ‘n’ mammaries farce 2 DÄNINNEN IN LEDERHOSEN and the 13th installment of the interminable SCHULMÄDCHEN REPORT series) who’s pressured by boyfriend Lothar to go “all the way”, a step she’s understandably rather reluctant to take.
Though her acting technique remains limited to a collection of photogenic pouts, Engelmann at least looks the part of a teenager, which is more than can be said for the uncredited actress playing her “one year older” (according to Elke’s narration) best friend Ellen. At 16 (going on 25…), the latter thinks letting Lothar get into her panties might be a good way for Elke to get over all those pesky adolescent insecurities that are making her such a party pooper of late. To stress this fact, Ellen drags her little friend into the school toilets for an impromptu Sapphic initiation that includes some particularly poor bladder control on her part. Lending Lothar a hand to appease his raging teen hormones, Elke firmly believes there should be more to love than this, even as she’s trying to cope with the shock of having caught her less than hard-bodied parents in mid-stroke. The girl’s middle-aged mom is played by Margit Rauthe, the only other recognizable face in the flick, who starred in DER SEX-BARON VON ST. PAULI and even had a very small bit part in the TV-series SMILEY’S PEOPLE.
Tiring of the understanding boyfriend routine, Lothar finally loses his patience when Elke refuses to put out at an orgy hosted by Ellen during her parents’ absence. Hopping into bed with a buxom blonde who – in the sparsely lit bedroom, at least – looks somewhat like US porno actress Serenity from Brad Armstrong’s excellent THE KISSING GAME while Ellen gets it from both ends in the bathroom, this clearly means curtains for Lothar as far as our dreary heroine’s concerned. As an attempt at heavy-handed symbolism, Elke intermittently runs into an older blind man whom she gradually befriends (in a very non-PC move she actually pities him to interminable lengths) and who seems to represent all that is good in man, therefore indirectly sanctioning the girl’s decision to hold out for Mr Right.
A bit ironic then that she, by now aged 17, should fall for sensitive, brooding Holger, pushing 40 and on the cusp on permanently leaving for Singapore. Blinded by love, she still allows him to take her maidenhead in front of the obligatory fireplace. Waving goodbye forever from the train station, Elke realizes that she has her whole life ahead of her and that there is much she’s yearning to discover.
Colorfully photographed like some bland ’70s shampoo commercial, TAGEBUCH provides an uneasy yet strangely entertaining blend of crude German porn and preachy after school special. It appears to have been an earnest and heartfelt attempt by its spectacularly untalented director to make a movie that mattered. While our annoyingly upright Elke valiantly braves her budding hormonal urges, everyone around her is getting down in frequently unpleasant graphic detail, delighting the raincoat crowd whilst simultaneously instilling its contradictory moral message that true love is a thing worth saving yourself for. Holger’s love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude in the last scenes adds further confusion to an already schizophrenic hybrid.