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Punish Me

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Jan is a 16-year-old juvenile delinquent placed under the watchful eye of Elsa Seifert, a stern, driven, and uncompromising 49-year-old probation officer. Elsa cares for her charges, but tolerates no stepping out of line. But now, as she approaches 50, cracks begin to appear in Elsa's professionalism. As her grown daughter prepares to leave home, and her marriage becomes more and more strained, Elsa longs for the intensity of experiencing something outside of her routine, something outside the norm.

Young, obsessed, Jan eagerly fills this void, offering to sexually subjugate himself to her. And Elsa enters willingly into this risky venture, desiring the verboten, but knowing it cannot end well.

Winner of the Golden Leopard prize at the 2006 Locarno Film Festival, PUNISH ME features engaging performances from Kostja Ullmann, one of the standout, lead actors in the theatrical release SUMMER STORM and from Maren Kroymann, a distinguished lesbian actress from Germany.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kostja Ullmann, Maren Kroymann, Marcus Vollenklee
  • Directors: Angelina Maccarone
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PICTURE THIS
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2007
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,450 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Punish Me" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 15, 2007
Format: DVD
PUNISH ME (VERFOLGT), aptly photographed in rich black and white, is a deftly made German film that raises as many questions as disturbing thoughts, a film that in every definition is a film noir - and a superb one at that. Writer Susanne Billig and director Angelina Maccarone (note: two very talented women!) have concocted a tale of disparate matching between a 50-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy, a relationship that builds on sadomasochism as a means of filling voids in each character. The story could easily have become 'sensational' in less sensitive hands, but here, with the sound help of a superb and wholly credible cast, it asks us to examine the extremes to which people will go to feel complete.

Jan Winkler (the gifted and inordinately handsome Kostja Ullmann) is 16 and on probation for petty crimes. He is assigned to parole officer Elsa Seifert (the fine actress Maren Kroymann), a 50-year-old frustrated woman in a marriage that has stagnated. Jan feels a strange attraction to Elsa, an act that at first Elsa rebuffs and discourages but gradually becomes fascinated with the attention and seductive behavior of the young Jan. Committed to helping Jan she manages to talk her husband into employing Jan at his car repair shop the two males strike up a friendship. In a series of subtle episodes Jan suggests his need for 'structuring' to Elsa: what he needs is Elsa to punish him physically, and when Elsa complies she is attracted to the process of sadomasochistic behavior (as the Dominatrix) as well as to the tenderness that always follows their dark sessions. Elsa's husband discovers his wife's relationship with Jan while Jan's friends uncover the secret, and the resulting behavior and recriminations flesh out the surprising ending.
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Format: DVD
I got this movie because I had read on a website run by a submissive man that this movie comes closest to reality, in his experience, and I'm glad that I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The emotion and interaction between the two characters is intriguing, in no small part due to the actors' fine performances.

Jan is a juvenile delinquent who becomes obsessed with his 50 year old probation officer, Elsa, and they get into a sadomasochist relationship, but there is a lot more going on than simply that. Jan knows exactly what he wants even if he might not understand why. And it's not just about pain for him. He is also thrilled by acts of submission and obedience, enthusiastically showering her feet with kisses and clearly taking sensual pleasure in doing whatever she asks when she issues her commands with the right tone.

Jan is just a boy and yet he has a man's confidence about what he needs (or thinks he needs). And he is not afraid of it, any of it. He unapologetically and without hesitation chooses her over friends several times. In their intimate scenes together, he shifts so easily between his regular self and aroused anticipation, going from rolling a cigarette, to wide-eyed and panting, and back again without a hint of embarassment. He buys a collar and leash for himself, wanting to belong to her, and he kisses her with such reverence that perhaps it is not merely an obsession after all.

I found it interesting that the movie hints that no one else seems to recognize this tendency in him, even the judge who has known him for 3 years and Elsa's husband. Jan offers himself only to Elsa, as if he'd been waiting for someone like her to come along and claim him.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this German movie. The lead actress, Maren Kroymann, did a great job playing a tricky role. I totally bought this unique, sado-masochistic, sexual relationship between the older woman and the very young man. The sexual dynamic, with the older woman holding all the "power" and the young man as subservient boy toy (and often nude), very much appealed to me. The young German actor, Kostja Ullmann, playing the boy was very, very sexy and beautiful, I remember him from the sweet German gay flick Summer Storm. I truly hope we see more of this sexy young man in other similar flicks.
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Format: DVD
I am a bit reluctant to compare this the brilliant Reflection in a Golden Eye with its powerful cast of fine actors and fine director. But frankly Punish Me is the best film that I have seen exploring sexual repression and compulsion with some respect and compassion since that classic. Actually Punish Me leaves you with more to think about in terms of the complexity of the interactions between the older woman and the boy. While it may seem over the top on the surface, it leaves a lot of important questions about their inner workings in the shadows and open to being pondered. Belle de Jour is certainly provocative and deserves to be called a brilliant exploration of masochism. But it does not focus so much on the psychological dynamics of a sadomasochistic interactions between two persons as does Punish Me.

Any film that does a compelling job of encouraging an intelligent viewer to think about human complexity can be called art.

The artiness of this film is enhanced by the stark black and white photography. Many of the rooms have oddly blank walls if you think about it, which cuts potential distractions and leads you to focus on the characters. I liked the photography a lot. I think the actors and director and photographer did a lot with little drama and attention to nuances of facial expression and body language.

Actually I laughed several times but not because it was at all funny, but because it was very serious in a very German way. So it was like "Yep they might really say it that way!! (I lived there for a year.
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