System Crasher

by Nora Fingscheidt

On her wild quest for love, 9-year-old Benni's untamed energy drives everyone around her to despair.

She is small, but dangerous. Wherever Benni ends up, she is immediately expelled. The wild 9-year-old girl has already become what child protection services call a “system crasher”. And she is certainly not looking to change her ways. Because Benni has one single goal: to be back at home with her mommy! But Bianca is scared of her own daughter. Mrs. Bafané from child protection services is trying her best to find a permanent placement for Benni. She hires the anger management trainer Micha as Benni's school escort and suddenly there is a seed of hope. Will Micha be able to succeed where all others despaired?While being acutely authentic, first-time director Nora Fingscheidt transcends a psychological study and crafts vibrant, visceral and emotional cinema, which evokes unforgettable performances.

Genre / Language / Length
Drama / German / 118 minutes
Original title
directed by
Nora Fingscheidt
produced by
kineo Filmproduktion, Weydemann Bros. GmbH in co-production with Oma Inge Film and ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel
  • Helena Zengel (NEWS OF THE WORLD)
  • Gabriela Maria Schmiede (IN TIMES OF FADING LIGHT)
  • Lisa Hagmeister (SYSTEM CRASHER)

Press Quotes

"Nora Fingscheidt's script and direction are marvels. With System Crasher, she creates a powerful, tense and vulnerable portrait of a child and a system doomed to be incompatible with one another. She proves herself as a fierce directorial force to be reckoned with."

"Suffused with sympathy but also a dose of bitter realism and shot with a freewheeling energy."

"System Crasher brings a commendable raw honesty to the troubled-child narrative. Helena Zengel's explosive performance captures the irrationality and overwhelming need for love and security that both redeems and damns the girl's chances of success."

"In the lead role, young Helena Zengel is mightily impressive, showing the natural depth of a born actress as she pours her energy into System Crasher. The talented Zengel has startling maturity as an actress while playing childish."

"System Crasher's nuances elevate the film into something truly cathartic."

"Nora Fingscheidt's debut is daring and fresh and looks like it is ticking all the boxes for a big prize at this year's Berlinale."

"The fact that the film draws you in is due to the impressively talented lead Helena Zengel. With her light blond hairs and the almost see-through teint she seems like a lively fairy."


Selected Festivals & Awards

Riga International Film Festival
26th Minsk IFF "Listapad"
Transylvania International Film Festival | Audience Award | awarded
69th Berlin International Film Festival | Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize | awarded
Sofia International Film Festival
Istanbul International Film Festival
Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz
Jeonju International Film Festival
Kyiv International Film Festival Molodist
18th Transilvania International Film Festival | Audience Award | awarded
Oslo Pix
Midnight Sun Film Festival
Shanghai International Film Festival
Guanajuato International Film Festival
FEST - New Directors|New Films Festival | Golden Lynx Award | awarded
Taipei Film Festival | Grand Prix | awarded
54th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
49th Giffoni International Film Festival
Jerusalem International Film Festival
Melbourne International Film Festival
SANFIC - Santiago International Film Festival
Athens International Film Festival
Helsinki International Film Festival Love&Anarchy
El Gouna Film Festival
Bergen International Film Festival
Zurich Film Festival | Bester Film | awarded
BFI London Film Festival
Film Fest Gent
Festival du Nouveau Cinéma Montreal
MAMI Mumbai Film Festival
Mumbai Film Festival
Philadelphia Film Festival
6th Riga International Film Festival
Mostra Sao Paulo International Film Festival | Jury Prize | awarded
26th Minsk International Film Festival 'Listapad'
Camerimage - International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
Gijon International Film Festival
International Film Festival of India in Goa
Les Arcs - Festival de Cinéma Européen des Arcs
Palm Springs International Film Festival | FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actress | awarded
system 43rd Göteborg International Film Festival