© X-Verleih/Warner Bros.

Sommer vorm Balkon
Germany 2005

Opening 5 Jan 2006

Directed by: Andreas Dresen
Writing credits: Wolfgang Kohlhaase
Principal actors: Inka Friedrich, Nadja Uhl, Andreas Schmidt, Stefanie Schönfeld, Christel Peters

Sommer vorm Balkon cannot be taken as light-heartedly as the title suggests. The film is an easy-going balance between comedy and tragedy thanks to director Andreas Dresen (The Policewoman and Grill Point), but it has a definite social message. Dresen tells the story of a friendship between two young women, shows what friendship means in hard times, but the film also deals with loneliness in three generations, unemployment and lack of funds for caregivers in our post-unification society in Germany.

Nike (Nadja Uhl) and Katrin (Inka Friedrich, well known in Hamburg as an actress at the Schauspielhaus Theater) spend warm summer evenings on Nike's top floor balcony in Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin. They talk about life and love while gazing down at their turbulent lives. Nike is a caregiver who bikes from one old person's apartment to the next. Katrin has an adolescent son and no prospects for a job. And both are on the lookout for plain old happiness. Nike settles for a while for macho truck driver Ronald (Andreas Schmidt) while Katrin goes off on one alcoholic binge too many.

As I wrote, there is balance in the film so there are fun moments and laughs. But still, the episodes of Nike with her clients who wish only for a little dignity in their old age are the parts of the movie that stay on my mind. (Thelma Freedman)

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