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Business With Friends (1992)


Main image of Business With Friends (1992)
35mm, colour, 23 mins
DirectorUwe Jansen
Production CompaniesBritish Film Institute Production
ProducersTatiana Kennedy
 Wolfgang Pfeiffer
PhotographyTom Fährmann

Cast: Christopher Eccleston ('Angel' Morris); Adie Allen (Coral); Heino Ferch (Rainer); Ernst Stötzner (Thiele)

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Morris, a member of a neo-Nazi organisation, arrives in Berlin with his girlfriend to finalise an arms deal and address a conference. Ironically, he finds himself compromised by his Polish origins.

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Business With Friends (tx.9/9/1992) was screened on BBC2 as part of Continental Drift, a series of three films made jointly by the BBC and the British Film Institute Production Board. As with the other two films, Can't Stop Me Dreaming (d. Bernard Rudden, 1992) and Springing Lenin (d. Andrei Nekrasov, 1992), in Business With Friends German director Uwe Jansen gives us snapshots of a Europe still grappling with the bitter legacies of history. It is a provocative, intelligent film held together by the searing performance of Christopher Eccleston in the role of neo-Nazi 'Angel' Morris.

Jansen, born in Königswinter, West Germany, had already explored the theme of neo-Nazis and the effects of the Second World War on ordinary people in Paths of Survival (Verfolgte Wege, West Germany, 1989), in which a man tries to come to terms with his traumatic wartime experience, and Sacred Cows (Heilige Kühe, Germany, 1993) about a leftist documentary filmmaker kidnapped by neo-Nazis. While it might be obvious why such themes would be of interest to a German audience, a British viewer will also relate to the terrifying portrait of young people struggling with issues of belonging, self determination and frustration, none of which of course justifies the murderous rage of the neo-Nazis.

Though the plotting is a little hazy, Business With Friends is an accessible film about racial violence, belief and contradiction.

Ann Ogidi

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Video Clips
1. The attack (1:49)
2. Playing games (1:17)
3. The deal (2:56)
4. Exposed (3:02)
100% White (2000)
Eccleston, Christopher (1964-)