Das Erste Mal (1996)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age, Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 89 min.  |   Countries - Germany  |  
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German Film & Television Academy grad Connie Walther made her feature directorial debut with this German film about 15-year-old Berliner Fili (Lavinia Wilson). Fili's divorced mother goes with an abusive guy who refuses to leave his wife. Fili has lost interest in school and spends much time daydreaming about how she will lose her virginity to Johnny Depp, whom she's never met. However, she's convinced that they are destined for each other and that when they do meet, Johnny will know that she's the girl for him. So she composes a series of audio letters to him, begins saving money for a plane ticket to Los Angeles in hopes of visiting him, and has imaginary conversations with Depp (in his various film roles). In black-and-white fantasy sequences, a dreamy, hazy Depp (played by Andreas Herder) is seen in costumes from Don Juan de Marco and his other films. Meanwhile, the talk among Fili's friends is of boys and sex. When Fili discovers that Johnny is only interested in girls with some experience, she is in a hurry to lose her virginity -- but with whom? Trying to find the right guy for her initiation turns out to be a bit more complicated than Fili imagined; the fellow she picks is twentysomething Ike (Benno Furmann), who already has a girlfriend and isn't too interested in Fili. The 36-year-old Walther worked as an assistant director before moving on to her own short films (Birthday Blues) and commercials (Paare). Although Johnny Depp does not appear in The First Time, Walther's feature is interlinked directly with Depp's role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1994), as she explained: "The story about a girl facing her first time in life having sex with a man interested me because it involves prejudices, myths, fairytales. I interviewed hundreds of girls about their first time, trying to find out if there was a common bond and to make sure that my own experiences had not just been 'decorated' by smooth memory...[In] What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Johnny Depp played the leading role -- a shy, very sensitive character, full of responsibility for his family. I was spellbound. I went out of that theater having the vision of that film I was going to make directly in front of my face. The dream prince Fili was supposed to talk to could not be anybody else but Johnny Depp." Winner of the "Up and Coming Directors" Prize at the 1997 Studio Hamburg Nachwuchspreis, The First Time was seen at numerous festivals and series, including the "New Directors/New Films" series held annually at the Museum of Modern Art by MOMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.



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