This Ain't California


This Ain't California

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 18


Audience Score

User Ratings: 182
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Movie Info

In 90 minutes, we see the GDR more sharply, more clearly: the skater subculture shows that not all was grey-on-grey and drab clouds of Trabant fumes. This Wildfremd production (Ronald Vietz & Michael Schöbel) by director Martin Persiel takes original clips of the "wheel-board-riders" - straight out of the East German scene in the 80s - and mixes it with animations and reencounters with the protagonists today. It is not just a well thought out story on its own - this film also raises the aesthetic bar. "Skating as freedom" is one of the leitmotifs of this film. Skating "without pressure to be better than someone else," as one of the main characters puts it, became the goal in hindsight, or, said downright harshly, "the desire for freedom turned lifestyle". Unbelievable, if not for the simple fact that this Californian fun could find its expression in the GDR. (c) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for This Ain't California

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (3)

  • There are some intriguing concepts here, but they are muddied by the needless flights of undeclared fancy, coming close to bad faith.

    Dec 5, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • "This Ain't California" offers a vivid immersion in the hidden skateboarding culture of the former East Germany.

    Apr 12, 2013 | Rating: 5/5
  • A trove of home videos, vintage commercial and propaganda footage and black-and-white animation dress up this energetic if somewhat unfocused look at the birth of skateboarding in the German Democratic Republic.

    Apr 12, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It ain't bad, though all that detritus detracts from a far more interesting history lesson on repression and rebellion that's left on the periphery.

    Apr 9, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    David Fear

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Martin Persiel's splendid "documentary" could well be subtitled "And It Ain't the Truth."

    Apr 9, 2013 | Full Review…
  • It creates a tangible sense of time but not one that would have been missing from using actual archive footage -- which was apparently available. Regardless of that, This Ain't California does still function well as a spunky peek behind the iron curtain.

    Mar 5, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for This Ain't California

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