© Zorro Film

Das Wahre Leben
Germany/Switzerland 2006

Opening 8 Mar 2007

Directed by: Alain Gsponer
Writing credits: Alex Buresch, Matthias Pacht
Principal actors: Katja Riemann, Ulrich Noethen, Hannah Herzsprung, Joseph Mattes, Volker Bruch

Roland Spatz (Ulrich Noethen), his wife Sybille (Katja Riemann), teenager Linus (Josef Mattes) and son Charles (Volker Bruch) enjoy orderly, happy lives. Father Roland has an important job as risk manager. Well-groomed Sybille runs a successful art gallery in town and meets with friend Hannes (Martin Feifel) at the gym in her spare time. Dutifully she sees to the boys’ breakfast, though Linus would prefer his calcium and vitamin pills instead of freshly pressed orange juice and milk from happy cows, as offered by his mom. Charles thinks he has fallen in love with a guy in the army (he is serving his term) and is busy fighting his confused feelings. Then father Roland loses his high-powered job. At first, the family reacts rather coolly, remarking, “Do we have to sell the house?” “Oh, no!” is the self-assured answer. Instead Roland intends to modernise the house, eagerly starting to demolish the living room wall. Everyone’s schedule and “peaceful” routine is disturbed. He annoys every member of the family and even clashes with his wife. One feels sorry for this stranded manager, who had not shown any interest in his family during the past 20 years, who does not know what kind of art his wife is selling or which subjects his son takes at school. He means well but is turning into a helpless and hopelessly clumsy husband and father. He is totally out of his depth. As his next job offer is lost, he seeks help from the influential new neighbours (Alexander Held, his wife Juliane Köhler), only to learn that the grass is not greener on the other side.

Son Linus builds bombs in his room and blows up the bird house in the garden (no one in the family seems to notice) as well as an ugly sculpture in the neighbourhood (which is noticed and immediately followed by a chase). Eccentric Florina (strong performance by newcomer Hannah Herzsprung), a rebellious, exotic looking 16-year old, fascinates Linus. A tender relationship develops, soon resulting in turbulent scenes involving the whole family. Dramatic situations alternate with comical scenes. Katja Riemann and Ulrich Noethen give their characters depth and integrity, well complimenting each other. The film ends literally with a blast – but it feels like a happy end with room for hope and positive feelings. (Birgit Schrumpf)

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