System Crasher (Systemsprenger)

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Bernadette, or Benni as she prefers to be known, is a delicate-looking girl with unbridled energy. She is a 'system crasher'. This term is used to describe children who break every single rule; children who refuse to accept any kind of structure and who gradually fall through the cracks in Germany's child and welfare services. No matter where this nine-year-old is taken in, she is booted out again after a short time. And that is exactly what she is after, because all she wants is to be able to live with her mother again: a woman who is totally unable to cope with her daughter's incalculable behaviour.


  • Helena Zengel
  • Albrecht Schuch
  • Gabriela Maria Schmeide
  • Lisa Hagmeister
  • Melanie Straub
  • Victoria Trauttmansdorff
  • Maryam Zaree
  • Tedros Teclebrhan
  • Matthias Brenner
  • Louis von Klipstein

Did You Know?


  • Germany's official submission to the International Feature Film category of the 92nd Academy Awards.
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Atom User Reviews

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Apr 2, 2020

Zengel is a balled-up fist of energy in the title role, getting across the sweetness that can convince those who take pity on Benni that “she’s making progress,” but unleashing hell in a flash to remind them she isn’t.

Metacritic review by Roger Moore
Roger Moore
Movie Nation
Apr 2, 2020

This is a wildly impressive first narrative feature, powered along by a strong cast, great chemistry, virtuoso flourishes, and fierce energy.

Tara Brady
The Irish Times
Mar 31, 2020

Most essential is the central performance: Zengel’s oscillating wild joys and storming furies are painful to watch. A moment when she howls for her mother (always tantalisingly out of reach) brought me to tears.

Wendy Ide
The Observer (UK)