Andi (Jannis Niewöhner) ist bereit, im Boxkampf alles zu riskieren.

One of the positive achievements of the ZDF editorial team “Das kleine Fernsehspiel” is not only the fact that current examples of up-and-coming film and television directors from the fictional, experimental, essayistic or documentary fields are shown, but that co-productions are also offered a slot who, as a result of the corona pandemic, have become unjustly forgotten “victims”. This is also the case with “Kids Run”, which kicks off the “Shooting Stars – Junges Kino im Zwei” series on Tuesday evening at 10:45 p.m.

Barbara Ott’s neo-realistic feature film directorial debut about a boxer (Jannis Niewöhner) who is literally knocked out and who is fighting for his children from two failed relationships Deutsches Kino” premiered as the opener. After further screenings, including at the Sydney Film Festival, the German cinema release was planned for June 2021. However, Corona thwarted that. Only a digital evaluation was carried out.

Second chance in the second now for “Kids Run”: Watching the somewhat unwieldy but atmospherically dense drama, in which the protagonist appears more like an antagonist, is definitely worthwhile. Andi Javanovich (Jannis Niewöhner) had to stop boxing from one day to the next after he was hit particularly hard in a fight. o. went. The money he earned as a day laborer on the construction site is not enough. The quick-tempered twenty-something is also in arrears with his rent, which is why the landlord threatens to throw him and his three small children out. It doesn’t help that Andi complains about the mold on the bathroom ceiling that keeps coming back.

So he borrows the missing amount from his ex-girlfriend Sonja (Lena Tronina), the mother of his baby daughter Fiou, who alternately lives with him. But the young woman took the money from her new boyfriend Mike (Rostyslav Bome) without telling him. When he realizes it, he becomes violent towards Sonja, whereupon Andi beats up Mike. Sonja gives her ex-boyfriend an ultimatum: she needs the money back in two weeks, otherwise she wants to take his daughter away from him. Andi signs up for an amateur boxing tournament in order to get back on his feet financially and not lose the child…

Appropriately, director and author Barbara Ott kept “Kids Run”, which received the ensemble prize for the casters Simone Bär, Phillis Dayanir and Johanne Hellwig and the ensemble at the German Acting Prize 2020, in visual and thematic shades of gray. It tells of people on the fringes of our supposedly perfectly organized and socially secure civilization. Refreshingly, despite the dreariness of the milieu, the fight for access rights does not involve courts.

Jannis Niewöhner undermines his sunny boy image here, which he later cemented with Detlev Buck’s remake of “Felix Krull’s Confessional Impostor”. Here he is faced with the not exactly easy acting task of embodying a character who, intellectually, is not exactly the brightest light on the cake.

Despite his quick-tempered nature, which also doesn’t shy away from snapping at his sometimes frightened children in Newspeak jargon like “Hey, dude!” when something goes wrong, he is a loving father in his own right. He rashly resorts to drastic, even unacceptable methods: When Isabel (Carol Schuler), the mother of his children Nikki (Eline Doenst) and Ronny (Giuseppe Bonvissuto), takes more care of her little cat, he disposes of it in front of the horrified eyes of the family in the garbage chute. He later apologizes to Nikki and Ronny for this.

But there are also moments of intimate tenderness, especially in the scenes between Jannis Niewöhner and Lena Tronina, who in contrast to him appears ethereal, reminiscent of Marlon Brando and Eva Maria Saint in Elia Kazan’s masterpiece “Die Faust im Neck” (1954). When the boxer embodied by Niewöhner flees abroad with his three children on the long-distance bus and looks around almost helplessly in the cold at a service area, whereupon Sonja and Andi lie in each other’s arms with Filou in the quickly edited final sequence, the viewer knows at the end not whether it has returned to a happy ending or just has a vision.