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Culture

A German Film About A Man And His Robot Daughter’s Sexual Relationship Triggers Walkouts And Outrage

By Cristina Margolis·· 3 min read
trouble with being born
Panama Film

A sci-fi film is getting a lot of heat over its very controversial relationship between a grown man and a young female robot. Directed by Austrian filmmaker Sandra Wollner, the film premiered at the Berlinale 2020 film fest, and as you can imagine, it has received an enormous amount of backlash, outrage, and disgust.

The Troublesome Plot

In the film, The Trouble with Being Born, a grown man, played by Dominik Warta, gets a child-like android to replace his 10-year old daughter who went missing 10 years ago. The robot looks exactly like a 10-year old little girl because she is in fact played by 10-year old actress Lena Watson. The man calls the robot “Elli” and she calls him “Daddy.” Although the sexual relationship the man has with Elli in the film is implied, there is no doubt that the father is indeed having a sexual relationship with her. In one particularly disturbing scene, Elli is laying naked on the counter as her father removes her vagina and tongue for cleaning. 

In one particularly disturbing scene, Elli is laying naked on the counter as her father removes her vagina and tongue for cleaning.

The Young Actress

The role of Elli was originally supposed to be played by a 20-year-old actress, but after filmmaker Sandra Wollner decided to remove some of the more explicit sex scenes, she decided to change the age of Elli to 10-years old. It seems there were steps taken to protect the young actress Lena because, although there are many nude scenes of Elli in the film, Lena was never actually naked. All nudity was done with CGI. Additionally, the young actress wore a silicone mask and wig to not only hide her identity, but also to help her better understand that this was just a role she was playing for the film. 

The young actress wore a silicone mask and wig to not only hide her identity but to help her better understand that this was just a role she was playing for the film.

Does that make the sexual relationship between the father and her any more bearable to watch? Or the relationship any more appropriate to be the subject of a film? Absolutely not. FilmGoblin’s review hit the nail right on the head: “Pedophilia Finally Gets Mainstream Nod In The Trouble with Being Born.

Sexual Abuse by the Father

In the film, the father sexually abuses the android robot. It would be disturbing no matter what age the android appeared to be, but the fact of the matter is, she is meant to be a 10-year old little girl, and that absolutely sickens me. 

Elli is meant to replace the man’s actual daughter, which leads us to believe that the father was sexually abusing his own daughter years ago.

To make matters even worse, Elli is meant to replace the man’s actual daughter, which leads us to believe that the father was sexually abusing his own daughter years ago. Our horrible suspicion is confirmed when Elli has memories that have been programmed into her by the father from the daughter’s actual memory: Elli’s voice is heard saying “Mum doesn’t need to know everything.” Cue stomachs churning everywhere.

Closing Thoughts

Despite what Wollner may have thought, her film is neither artistic nor thought-provoking. On the contrary, this film is absolute garbage and a disgusting embarrassment to our society as a whole. What in the world was Wollner thinking? The sexual exploitation of children in film, even if they are meant to be an android, is horrific and inappropriate. 

The Trouble with Being Born is promoting rape culture, child abuse, and pedophilia. As a mother of a 10-year old daughter myself, I am absolutely repulsed by this film and heartbroken that this is the type of “entertainment” being produced in 2020. Audience members were right to walk out of the Berlin screening, and I for one am boycotting the film.

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