Drifter Berlin Film Festival Review

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The Haunting Journey of Self-Discovery in Berlin: A Review of Drifter


Drifter, directed by Hannes Hirsch, takes us on a captivating exploration of the life of a cis white gay man in Berlin. Through the eyes of the 22-year-old protagonist, Moritz (played by Lorenz Hochhuth), we witness a personal journey filled with profound moments of perplexity and burstiness. The film delves into the complexities of relationships, self-identity, and the vibrant party scene in Berlin. It challenges common expectations and offers an honest portrayal of a diverse community scarred by various traumas.

A Heartbreaking Twist of Fate

Moritz’s life takes an unexpected turn when his boyfriend, Jonas (Gustav Schmidt), ends their relationship, leaving him feeling lost and alone. Bereft of direction and occupied by a sense of emptiness, Moritz embarks on a path of self-discovery. He immerses himself in Berlin’s vibrant party scene, which exposes him to a life involving drugs and unfamiliar connections, predominantly experienced during the night.

An Unconventional Narrative

Drifter defies conventional storytelling, intriguing the audience with its unique narrative approach. Writers Hannes Hirsch and River Matzke skillfully subvert expectations, focusing on the raw honesty of Moritz’s journey rather than sensationalizing it. Moments are intentionally chosen to emphasize Moritz’s quest for belonging within a complex and diverse community, scarred by a range of traumas. While the film incorporates dynamic dance scenes and bold stylistic choices, it thrives in its quieter moments, where unspoken glances speak volumes and Moritz’s search for identity becomes palpable.

An Emotive Performance by Lorenz Hochhuth

Lorenz Hochhuth delivers an exceptional performance, effectively conveying Moritz’s character and evoking empathy from the audience. From the opening scene, we become emotionally invested in Moritz’s journey. However, Drifter is not solely focused on Moritz; every character he encounters is multifaceted, each carrying their own burdens and expressing themselves uniquely. Jonas, Moritz’s narcissistic ex-boyfriend, is one example, his fear-driven inability to show genuine affection reflecting his own insecurities. Through his interactions, Moritz discovers the varied ways of being a cis white gay man in the vibrant city of Berlin.

Connections and Discoveries

As Moritz navigates his new reality, he encounters a diverse array of individuals. Noah (Cino Djavid), with his unconventional, loving family and honest approach to life, presents Moritz with the possibility of something genuine and secure. However, Moritz, not yet ready for such commitments, finds himself returning to the clubs he once avoided, indulging in the very same drugs he previously rejected. Despite feeling like a fish out of water initially, chance encounters gradually transform into friendships, creating real connections. Throughout it all, Moritz never truly escapes the lingering feeling of loneliness. Nevertheless, he ultimately finds himself, quietly and confidently, in his own unique way.

A Tale Beyond Boundaries

Drifter takes the audience on a journey that defies traditional storytelling formats. It offers a glimpse into a specific moment in time within a community while challenging preconceived notions of masculinity. Moritz’s vulnerability is consistently portrayed, revealing its strength as a catalyst for self-discovery. Unfalteringly honest and visually stunning, Drifter captivates with its relatable dynamics and unwavering commitment to its characters. This thought-provoking film will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression beyond the closing credits.


Drifter, a hauntingly beautiful film, captivates viewers with its exploration of self and community. Through Moritz’s journey, we witness the complexities of relationships, personal identity, and the vibrant party scene in Berlin. By subverting expectations and embracing vulnerability, Drifter unveils the strength found in embracing one’s true self. With its unapologetic honesty and memorable characters, this film lingers in the viewer’s mind long after the final scene fades to black.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Drifter based on a true story?

No, Drifter is a fictional film that offers a unique perspective on the experiences of a cis white gay man in Berlin. While it may draw inspiration from real-life events and emotions, the story itself is a creation of the filmmakers.

2. What makes Drifter stand out from other LGBTQ+ films?

Drifter stands out due to its commitment to portraying an honest and raw journey of self-discovery. The film avoids falling into stereotypes and instead focuses on the complexities and nuances of its characters, presenting a multi-dimensional narrative that resonates with viewers.

3. How does Drifter challenge traditional storytelling?

Drifter defies traditional storytelling by choosing specific moments in the protagonist’s life to convey his quest for belonging and self-identity. The film masterfully combines bursts of energy and vibrant scenes with quieter, introspective moments, presenting a fragmented yet impactful narrative structure.

4. What is the significance of Berlin as the setting for Drifter?

Berlin serves as a backdrop that represents freedom, self-discovery, and the exploration of personal boundaries. The city’s rich history and vibrant LGBTQ+ community play a crucial role in shaping Moritz’s journey, providing an environment where he can explore his identity.

5. How does Drifter leave a lasting impact on the audience?

Drifter’s unflinching honesty and relatable portrayal of its characters make it a film that lingers in the mind long after viewing. It raises questions about personal identity, community, and the choices we make, leaving viewers with a renewed sense of empathy and understanding.