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Child I Never Was (2002)

Tobias Schenke , Sebastian Urzendowsky , Kai S. Pieck  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tobias Schenke, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Ulrike Bliefert, Walter Gontermann, Jürgen Christoph Kamcke
  • Directors: Kai S. Pieck
  • Writers: Kai S. Pieck, Jürgen Bartsch, Paul Moor
  • Producers: Andrea Hanke, Bettina Scheuren
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Strand Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: November 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006Q9428
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,331 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Child I Never Was" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

A serial killer dispassionately discusses the nuts and bolts of his grisly avocation, as well as the youthful traumas which helped to mold him into a psychopath, in this disturbing independent drama from Germany, based on a true story. Young Jurgen Bartsch (Sebastian Urzendowsky) was raised in a family where his father (Walter Gontermann) barely acknowledged his existence and his mother (Ulrike Bliefert) displayed an inappropriate degree of affection toward him. When he reached puberty, Bartsch (played as a teenager by Tobias Schenke) was a young man confused and bitter about his growing sexual maturity, and possessing a deep hatred of those around him. Bartsch was a 15-year-old apprentice butcher when he kidnapped and murdered a young boy; he would kill three more boys in a similar fashion before he was captured by police in 1966. After he was found guilty, Bartsch carefully documented his childhood and his crimes in a series of letters and essays, and Ein Leben lang kurze Hosen tragen is drawn from his own words as it dramatizes his life and his crimes. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Examination of the Darkness of Madness January 21, 2005
Format:DVD
Kai S. Peck is one courageous Director! He has created a very substantial and quite disturbing film about an actual bizarre serial killer and through the statements and letters of his subject and a book by Paul Moor and his astute directing he has been able to step over the sensationalism of his subject and open the door into the mind of a very ill person.

THE CHILD I NEVER WAS (originally titled EIN LEBEN LANG KURZE HOSEN TRAGEN) is frighteningly based on fact. From 1962 through 1966 a fifteen-year-old boy named Jurgen Bartsch tortured, murdered, and then sexually molested four young German boys. This infamous serial killer is first introduced in a black and white sequence of Jurgen as a 20 year old (Tobias Schenke) in prison for his crimes. He frankly talks about his crimes, acknowledging their evil, but at the same time seeks to uncover his own motivations for having performed such deeds. Through a series of flashbacks we see Jurgen as a child and as a 15 year old (Sebastian Urgendowsky) and discover he was adopted by a couple who are bipolar parents - Gertrud (Ulrike Bliefert) and Gerhard (Walter Gontermann) Bartsch. Their parenting is brutally bounced from feigned kindness to flailing mistreatments. They do not allow Jurgen to have friends, to socialize, to have any interests. When Jurgen begins to get in touch with his sexuality, they foster care him and seek professional advice for his sickness of homosexuality.

Young Jurgen is unable to relate to anyone and he yearns for friends. He discovers a cave where he can escape form his ugly world and fantasize about many things, including sexual fantasies about boys 'ages 8 through 14'.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling True Story of a Troubled Teen Killer February 4, 2005
Format:DVD
I agree with the earlier review of this film by Grady Harp (who writes many fine reviews). I would like to add a few points.

The main character, Juergen Bartsch, is not allowed to have friends, to build social skills, to explore his sexuality, or to grow up. His mother screens out the outside world, his father seldom speaks to him. His mother is still giving him his baths when he is in his late teens. When the parents separate, Juergen is sent to a Catholic boys' home where the masters will knock over his food tray if he is seen eating too frequently with the same boys. Juergen is in Germany while Paragraph 175 is still in effect and, as a member of the Church, finds himself subject to stern teachings on homosexuality and to a sexually agressive priest. He has a negative self-image and can scarcely believe anyone would want him, except through a bribe or threat. Only if his partner is absolutely passive or dead can he feel safe or accepted. It gets even worse from here.

The scripts, acting, and atmosphere are excellent. There is no frontal nudity, and the most shocking aspects of the murders are told as narrative by the older, institutionalized Juergen.

The most astonishing thing was that at the end, he found someone who would marry him after undergoing surgical castration. That's another movie.

It's a harrowing film, not entered into lightly, but it's a very insightful and true one as well. Recommended for the stout of heart.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Jurgen Bartsch is the subject of this film about a teen aged boy who murdered other boys during the early to mid 1960's in Germany.

The film is told through a series of confessions (ostensibly to an unseen journalist) as an adult and flashbacks to the actual events in Bartsch's life. The subject matter is grim but the delivery in the film doesn't really capture the true horror that must have befell these child victims.

I don't think that we should be subjected to the sheer brutality or the sexual aspects of Bartsch's crimes, but since Bartsch confessed to the crimes, it would be well within reason to expect the filmmakers to take a more harsh stance against his crimes. Instead the delivery seems almost to attempt to justify his crimes as a result of his upbringing. Because of this, the viewer isn't able to truly empathize with any of the victims, but rather with Bartsch.

The young Bartsch is played quite well by a talented actor, but the older Bartsch as he confesses seems a bit uncommitted to his role. One could infer that the actor/filmmaker's intent is to show a young man who is indifferent to his crimes; instead the portrayal comes off a bit muddled.

If you are a fan of true crime, then you will enjoy this film for its factual aspects. However, it isn't as emotionally charged as it could have been.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look into madness October 19, 2005
Format:DVD
the film maker takes and in depth look into the mind of a serial killer. He makes no judgements on crimes of his subjects as none are needed, no one would think they are okay. But he trys to help us in seeing where a young life took a wrong turn, in the hopes that history would not repete itself. The subject matter is engaging and disturbing enough without being graffic. I think the film maker took the high road by not making graffic, as the details could have been lost in in it. Every parent should watch this movie, and then spend some time with their children
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The child I Never Was
When I was a military officer and at an Air Force Base in Germany on my itinerary before leaving for duty in the Middle East during 1983, conversations about the Jurgen Bartsch... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Gary W. Phelps
3.0 out of 5 stars To Justify a Crime
The beginning is very jumbled and I had a problem where the story was. There was a scene showing two children being buried without any any preamble to the story. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Martin
1.0 out of 5 stars i ordered this film was charged for it but never received it
have no idea of the quality, never received it, am unable to rate it, but am unhappy to pay for something I did not recieve
Published 14 months ago by George E. Russell
4.0 out of 5 stars walk a mile
anyone not have a dysfunctional family or life?the aspects of not finding your love and then killing it was extreme,isn't it always after the aunt has been arrested for pig... Read more
Published 15 months ago by daryl
3.0 out of 5 stars I didn't like it but then to be fair I didn't really understand what...
When I watched We Need to Talk about Kevin I was interested in stories in a similar vein and a friend recommended "The Child I Never Was" to me. Read more
Published 16 months ago by General Pete
3.0 out of 5 stars The Child I'm Glad I,m Not
The is a true story wow that is some Jeffery Dahmer stuff their , A reviewer had wrote that it should have had more victim empathy in it which I will agree with but not to bad just... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars I really like the movie
Although I bought the DVD back in around 2004, I have actually just watched thoroughly just last night. Read more
Published on September 25, 2011 by Stanley Kosasih
5.0 out of 5 stars A disturbing look inside a parafiliac mind
In a dark and disturbing film, Gontermann shows us the devastating effects that religious zeal and lack of affection has in those minds who have parafiliac inclinations -whether by... Read more
Published on August 30, 2007 by Juan O. Chavez
2.0 out of 5 stars Failed to deliver
Given the shocking subject matter, and other reviews that promised a revealing look into the mind of Jürgen Bartsch, the teenaged serial child molester and killer (what an... Read more
Published on April 7, 2007 by Jonathan Appleseed
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