Tragicomedy: "Weekend Rebels" - a true family story

The roar of fans, beer showers, crowds of people - for a ten-year-old with autism, a visit to the football stadium is anything but pleasant.

Tragicomedy: "Weekend Rebels" - a true family story

The roar of fans, beer showers, crowds of people - for a ten-year-old with autism, a visit to the football stadium is anything but pleasant. But how is Jason supposed to choose a favorite club without visiting the home stadiums of all 56 German first, second and third division teams?

In "Wochenendrebellen" Florian David Fitz ("Oskar's Dress"), Aylin Tezel ("Am Himmel der Tag") and newcomer Cecilio Andresen take viewers into a very special family story that is so touching precisely because it is actually something similar happened.

The film by director Marc Rothemund ("This Stupid Heart" and "Sophie Scholl - The Last Days") is based on the real-life adventures of Mirco von Juterczenka and his autistic son Jason. In order to find Jason's favorite club, the duo traveled to football games across Germany and Europe starting in 2012 and recorded all the experiences in their own blog. The blog first became a book - and now a film.

Football games as an outlet

Fitz plays a well-meaning but overwhelmed father who travels a lot for work. Meanwhile, his wife Fatime (Aylin Tezel) is organizing family life with two children - and is increasingly reaching the end of her strength.

Fatime tries everything to offer her son support - but things aren't easy for him, especially at school. The many noises in the schoolyard irritate him, his classmates insult him as an "idiot" or "spastic", and when his teacher talks about biblical miraculous healings in religion class, Jason explodes: that's "nonsense" and "medically not possible" - and in general he doesn't let a conspiracy theorist tell him anything! After Jason steps on the hand of a classmate during an outburst of anger, he is threatened with being transferred to a special school.

Shortly afterwards, Jason is asked by the other children at school about his favorite football club. To answer this question, he wants to watch home games of all 56 German first, second and third division teams live in the stadium - and his father Mirco makes a deal with him. He goes with him on the extensive research trip to find his favorite club if Jason no longer allows himself to be provoked at school. From now on, on the weekends, the two leave the domestic order behind and travel across the country to football games.

Collaboration on the script

The film gives a heart-touching insight into Jason's view of what he often finds to be a loud, hectic, incomprehensible world. But the inner life of the exhausted mother and the often overwhelmed father are also the focus of the story. Jason and Mirco von Juterczenka's collaboration on the film shines through in many scenes - which is important for such a sensitive topic.

“Especially if you want to tell something about autism, you have to tell it precisely,” said Fitz in an interview with the German Press Agency. That's why it was so important that Jason and his parents were involved in the work on the script and beyond. "If we changed anything, it was always echoed back: Can you say that? Is that even true?" says Fitz. "There was always feedback, especially from Jason himself: He would never do that, he would do it that way. That was very important."

The actress told dpa that Tezel had also exchanged ideas with Fatime, Jason's mother, in advance. "The important thing for me about this role was that on the one hand you're talking about a mother with a huge lion's heart who has an incredible love for her children, but also about a woman who reaches her limits and overwhelms her and simply can't do it anymore," explained Tezel.

Father-son duo with a fan base

At the same time, it is also clear that to some extent these are still fictional characters. "Even though many things that we tell in the film happened, there are moments or dialogues that didn't exactly happen that way, but that could have happened that way," said Tezel.

The original "Weekend Rebels" are satisfied online with the final result from screenwriter Richard Kropf. “He managed to stick to the story almost eerily close to the story, incorporating input from Jason that was not included in the book “We Weekend Rebels” and still fictionalizing places that were important to us personally without becoming unrealistic,” it says their website. The father-son duo have long since built up a fan base online through their own blog and podcast, which is now eagerly awaiting the film's release.

In addition to Fitz, Tezel and Andresen, Joachim Król ("The boy needs some fresh air"), Leslie Malton ("The Big Bellheim") and Milena Dreißig ("Stromberg") can also be seen in the new production from Leonine Studios.

- Weekend Rebellen, Germany 2023, 109 min., FSK ages 6 and up, by Marc Rothemund, with Florian David Fitz, Cecilio Andresen, Aylin Tezel, Joachim Król.