Wer das weisse Rauschen sieht, der wird sofort wahnsinnig. Außer wenn er schon wahnsinnig ist. Dann wird er normal.
Who sees the white noise goes crazy instantly. Except they are already crazy. In that case they get normal.
Lukas (played brilliantly by shooting star Daniel Brühl) grew up at his grandparent's.
But now he comes to the big city to study. Life is just beginning and he moves in with his
sister Kati and her boyfriend Jochen in exciting Cologne. However, already in the beginning
not all is well. He loses his way in the train station, he gives up on registering for his
courses after being sent from one room to the other, he scares away a girl he wanted to
go to the movies with when he has a fit of temper.
But the real problems start after he
eats some magic mushrooms together with Kati and Jochen. He hears voices in his head, and
they just won't stop! The constant babble in his head finally drives him crazy and he is
diagnosed with schizophrenia. It turns out that his mother suffered from the same condition and
finally committed suicide. Lukas is admitted to a mental hospital, the doctors can't really
help him though, all he gets is pills that tone down the voices to a buzz in the background.
Lukas struggles to lead a normal life, but after a time he has enough and flushes
the pills down the toilet. The voices return and paranoia sets in. He jumps off a brigde
over the Rhine but is rescued by a bunch of dropouts on their way to Spain who take
him with them. However, even among those tolerant people he remains an outsider.
In the end he stays on the beach of the Atlantic, where he has found his 'white noise',
staring into the waves.
Made in 2001 with a team of only seven people in just six weeks, the movie was
director Hans Weingartner's graduation film at the Filmhochschule Köln.
He tries to show what a psychosis is like not from the outside but from the inside,
in a pseudo-dogma style. The result is impressive, especially in a cinema where the
sound system really makes you feel just how unnerving the noises in Lukas' head really are.
The camerawork is also unusual, with shots from the floor or from the ceiling.
Commercially, "Das weisse Rauschen" was of course not a great success - it is however
a very intense and realistic glimpse into the head of someone suffering from mental illness.