“Buba,” the 2022 German film, is directed by Arne Feldhusen and written by Sebastian Colley and Isaiah Michalski. The film stars Bjarne Madel as Jakob a.k.a. Buba, Georg Friedrich as Dante, Anita Vulesica as Jule, Soma Pysall as Maxime, Jasmine Shakeri as Yeta, and Maren Kroyman as Doro in the prominent roles. So let’s witness the peculiar life of Buba and embark on a journey where he will probably make the biggest revelation of his life.
‘Buba’ Plot Summary: What Is The German Film About?
Jakob Otto says that the only thing common in his life and the fairy tales was the fact that his parents, too, were never at home. He spent most of his time with his grandmother, Ingrid, and his younger brother, Dante. Grandmother Ingrid, was rather a unique character and maybe a bit too realistic for Jakob’s liking. She used to tell the kids German fairy tales, which, as Jakob puts it, are not as soppy as the ones created by Disney. His grandmother had made him believe that one has to pay for everything good in life. In a way, Jakob was brainwashed, and he abided by that theory. He went to take part in a breakdancing competition and stood first in it. He says that the boy who came second was none other than the star, Leonardo Dicaprio. He says to Google the fact if you don’t believe it (hilariously enough, it is actually a true fact that Leonardo was once a break dancer and took part in a competition in Germany, which the Oscar winner revealed on one of the talk shows). A girl named Jule, who lived in the neighborhood, came and kissed him after he won the competition. That day, Jakob knew that not Leonardo but he was the “king of the world.” Jakob’s uncle had passed away, and he had his funeral on the same day as the Break Dance competition. His mother asked him to come with them, but he went into hiding to avoid going with them. His parents met with an accident, and they died on the spot. Dante, though, somehow survived but went into a coma. Jakob got this news as soon as he came back after winning the dance competition. He blamed his happiness for their car crash. He somewhere felt that if he hadn’t been happy, his parents would have still been around. He punishes himself by hitting his hand with a hammer.
Soon after that, Dante gains consciousness and comes back home almost miraculously. Jakob was elated, but he realized that he would have to support and look after his brother since he was now suffering from a unique neurological disorder called Foreign Accent Syndrome, in which Dante had started speaking like an American, and also diseases like muscular dystrophy combined with others made it difficult for him to walk without support. Eventually, Grandmother Ingrid also passed away, and the boys were left to fend for themselves. They started committing petty crimes, where Dante was generally the mastermind, and Jakob was the man who put his life at risk and executed it. Jakob started maintaining a journal where he kept an account of his happiness and sufferings. He made himself suffer, so that nothing bad would happen to his brother. Pain had become his trusted ally, and he was most comfortable while his body was bruised and aching. The moment something happened that brought a smile to his face, he made sure he punished himself. They came into contact with a local Albanian mafia family and met the ringleader, named Doro. Doro ordered them to stop committing crimes in her jurisdiction. Dante wanted to work for her, but Jakob thought that it was too risky. So the brothers moved to Lautershiem, where Jakob started performing stunts in a theme park, which not only served as a means of livelihood for the brothers but also made sure that Jakob was constantly in pain. But it was not a very flourishing business, and Jakob was having second thoughts about continuing it. In the theme park itself, Jakob met Jule, years after that Break Dance competition. He is still smitten by her, as he was once in his childhood. He starts visiting her tattoo studio, and asks her to make tattoos where it hurts the most.
A few days after meeting Jakob, he realizes that maybe he is getting a bit too happy in her company. He had started feeling good, and that frightened him as he knew that if he kept doing this, something or the other would happen to the people he loved. He knew that he had to suffer, and so he accepted his brother’s wish to work for the Albanian family.
‘Buba’ Ending Explained: What Does Jakob Find Out About Dante?
Dante and Jakob started collecting money for the Albanian family. But one day, they beat a guy who was under the protection of John, the actual Albanian. Apparently, Doro and her family were not really Albanians, but they pretended to be one, because it attracted fear. A gang war started between the real and fake Albanians, orchestrated by Dante. Jakob was given the name Buba by his fellow gang members, Abnor and Ilir. Buba was a mythological character, a heartless monster. The gang members were amazed by the fact that pain didn’t scare Jakob and how he took a fight with people double his size. They celebrated him, and somewhere it did pinch Dante, seeing his elder brother take all the limelight.
Eventually, Jakob told Dante about his affair with Jule. Dante was furious as Jakob being happy meant that he had put everything at risk. But Dante has a plan. He thinks that if Jakob goes through maximum suffering, then he would earn some moments of happiness without disturbing the delicate balance of things. So he plans a heist—to steal cocaine from the warehouse of the real Albanian family, headed by John. They reach the warehouse, and Dante sends Jakob inside to find cocaine. Jakob, a.k.a. Buba finds it out, but John arrives at the scene just as he was trying to escape. The two enter into a scuffle, and Buba somehow manages to overpower him. They take the cocaine and get out of the warehouse. But Buba was angry. Dante was outside for a reason—so that he could inform Buba if anybody came. Dante didn’t do that, and Buba ended up killing the Albanian. Buba is hit by the car, driven by his own brother, but he survives, thanks to his brilliant stuntman skills. Buba goes to Jule and asks her to accompany him to the wedding of his colleagues. But as soon as Jule gets to know that he is working for the Albanians, she takes a step back. Her own husband had been a victim of the mafia wars. That is why she left everything and started a new life with her daughter, Maxime, in a palace where nobody knew them.
A disheartened Buba goes to the wedding alone. Dante crashes the wedding, accompanied by armed men, and puts the blame for John’s death on Doro. He basically wants to kill everybody and become the leader of the underworld himself. Meanwhile, Jule’s daughter decides to run away with her boyfriend, Alex, as she was living in seclusion and paying for her parents’ doings. In a dramatic turn of events, Alex, together with Maxine and a couple of other friends, comes to the same wedding where Buba, Dante, Doro, and others were already there. The cocaine belonged to Alex’s dad, and he wanted it back now. Jule also arrives at the scene, and it is revealed that before being a tattoo artist, she was a sharpshooter, working for Alex’s dad. Her husband had killed him, and that is when she had decided to leave the business and settle with her daughter. Jule kills everybody and ends the mayhem. But Buba still had a score to settle.
After Dante had fought with him and left, Jakob had gone home and found out that the medicines he was taking were nothing but vitamin C tablets. Dante had taken advantage of Buba all this while. He could walk perfectly well and didn’t have that foreign accent syndrome. Dante had realized early in his life that Jakob was a fortunate lad. Barely anything happened to him, even if he came in the way of a speeding truck. He wanted to take advantage of that good luck he was bestowed upon, and the way he could do so was by soaking his elder brother in guilt. Dante says that he wants to go home and have a personal talk, but then suddenly pulls the trigger of his gun and kills himself. Jule and Maxime bid adieu to Jakob and leave the town in search of a new life.
We then go back to the very first scene where Jakob has accidentally shot himself. After Jule left, Jakob only did things that he liked. He started staying at a secluded horse ranch all by himself. About five years later, a group of young boys entered his premises, and he had caught hold of them. One of them had a 3D printer gun, which Jakob took, and accidentally shot himself dead. In the mid-credit, it is also shown that he was finally able to break the shell of the pistachio, signifying that he was finally able to get a taste of the pleasures that he had always kept himself deprived of. But luck didn’t favor him in the end, and maybe his theory about happiness and suffering did have some truth to it.
“Buba” sets an intriguing foundation during the initial few moments, where the characters are being defined, and the unique beliefs of Jakob are brought to light. There are moments which will actually make you laugh and pique your interest, but they are short-lived. As the story progresses, it just becomes a mundane affair, which does not have anything authentic to offer. The makers make sure that they keep surprising you with plot twists now and then, but still, it feels flimsy and ineffectual. There are scenes that do not hold any relevance or do not aid the narrative in any manner whatsoever. The point is that even if they are solely for entertainment purposes, they miss the bullseye by a huge margin.
Bjarne Madel and Georg Friedrich, as Jakob and Dante, respectively, are brilliant in their roles. They do the bulk of the heavy lifting, and their performance would probably be the only thing that would provide you with some respite from an otherwise frivolous and superficial screenplay. The film functions the best when it is not taking itself seriously. The concept of a guy maintaining an account of pleasure and pain is rather interesting and something that could have been utilized in a much better manner. The moment matters start getting a bit dramatic; it loses its flair. The film has its moments, but overall becomes a dull affair, making even 90 minutes feel like an eternity.
“Buba” is a 2022 Drama Comedy film directed by Arne Feldhusen.