German Film Club
Cooperation between Kedai Kebun Forum (KKF) and Goethe Institut Jakarta
Wednesday, 7 February 2018, 7.00 pm
Auditorium, Kedai Kebun Forum (KKF)
Jl. Tirtodipuran 3, Yogyakarta
Open for public and free
Who Am I – No System Is Safe (Who Am I – Kein System ist Sicher)
Director: Baran no Odar, 2013/14, thriller, 106 min., German with English subtitles
Casts: Tom Schilling, Elyas M’Barek, Wotan Wilke Möhring, Hannah Herzsprung
Benjamin is invisible. A nobody. But this changes abruptly when he suddenly meets the charismatic Max. On the outside, they couldn’t be more different, but they share a common interest: hacking into other people’s computers. And so they start playing with fire. And it goes without saying that fire can burn.
The title gives away the film’s two main themes: The search for one’s own identity and the vulnerability of an electronically interconnected world. Playing with one’s identity is deeply rooted in the hacker scene. Hackers wear digital masks and form alliances and start battles, without knowing who their allies or their foes actually are.
Take Benjamin. He’s invisible. A nobody. Or, according to the language of binary code: A zero among ones. But this changes abruptly when he suddenly meets the charismatic Max. On the outside, they couldn’t be more different, but they share a common interest: hacking into other people’s computers and closed networks. Along with Max’s friends, the impulsive Stephan and the paranoid Paul, they form the subversive hacker group CLAY, which stands for Clowns Laughing @ You.
The members of CLAY see themselves as a fearless, prevocational troop. As playful guerrilla fighters. Through their actions and social performances, the members of CLAY seem to have struck the nerve of an entire generation. They manage to make a name for themselves through their cyber attacks against a right-wing party congress and against a pharmaceutical company. For the first time in his life, Benjamin feels as though he’s part of something big, and even the attractive Marie starts to notice him. In order to become part of the hacker scene elite, the group manages to hack into the server of the German Federal Intelligence Service. This, however, puts them in extreme danger. Through this action, the hackers find themselves on Europol’s most wanted list and they also manage to infuriate the „Friends“: a hacker troop enmeshed in organised crime. Hunted down by the cybercrime investigator Hanne Lindberg, Benjamin is no longer a nobody. He’s one of the most wanted hackers in the world.
Reviews and recommendations
It’s been a long time since German cinema produced a film as confident as the hacker thriller WHO AM I – NO SYSTEM IS SAFE. (spiegel.de)
This story drags internet crime out of the stuffy, cinematically charmless solitude of the hacker cave. The magic formula used here is social engineering; the social influencing of people, with the aim of retrieving their data. Phishing, Trojans and IP transmitters are all used in WHO AM I. One is able to understand the plot, even without possessing deep knowledge of computer science. (zeit.de)
The digital network world is a nightmare for cinematographers. There’s nothing more boring than endless columns of figures flitting on a screen, frantic typing on a keyboard and cable bundles, through which the break-ins of our age are made possible. Optically, such a thriller had nothing going for it. Director Baran bo Odar, together with set designer Silke Buhr, came up with the idea of symbolically representing the data network through the Berlin underground system, and turning an underground car into a dramatic data hub. The emails of the enemy hacker groups meet each other in person in the form of masked senders in the gloomy atmosphere of the underground and hand over (data) packets to one another. Every now and then, they even hand over Trojans made of clay. (Berliner Zeitung)
Baran bo Odar was born in Olten, Switzerland, on 18 April 1978. He studied at the University of Television and Film in Munich between 1998 and 2005. He then attended a master class on advertising and promotional spots, also at the University of Television and Film in Munich. In 2005, his short film “Quietsch” was shown at the Berlin International Film Festival. His cameraman, Nikolaus Summerer, who also worked with Baran bo Odar on all of his following films, was given an award for his camera work at the American Slamdance Festival in 2006, for the work he did on Baran’s graduate thesis film for the University of Television and Film in Munich, “Unter der Sonne”. In the years following that, he directed a number of commercials for companies such as Panasonic, Sony, the Sparkasse Bank and Mini-Cooper. “The Silence” was Baran bo Odar’s debut feature film in 2010.
Distinctions and Awards
2015 Bavarian Film Awards (Best Director)
2015 German Film Awards (six nominations)
Concise glossary for the film
Botnet: Computer programs that run on networked computers and which can use and misuse those computers’ resources for their own purpose, for example, for the sending of spam emails.
DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service attack): The shutting down of a network or a web presence, for example, by overloading the system.
Evil Twin: A device that simulates an access point. When the real access point is disabled, the operator of the Evil Twin can intercept data traffic.
Exploit: A program that takes advantage of a bug or vulnerabilities in order to hack into a system that is normally closed, in order to manipulate it.
Machine code: A coding language whose instructions, which are language elements, can be directly executed from a computer’s processor. The undistorted programming language of a computer, so to speak.
Social Engineering: A method of influencing others, with the aim of eliciting certain behaviours. Certain weaknesses, such as trust in authority or the fear of being exposed, are deliberately exploited.
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