© Warner Bros. Pictures Germany

Germany 2013

Opening 15 Aug 2013

Directed by: Tobias Wiemann
Writing credits: Tobias Wiemann
Principal actors: Pit Bukowski, Jytte-Merle Böhrnsen, Markus Hering, Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, Jacob Matschenz

Ole Schneider lives in a German village in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with his parents Heinz and Lotte. He and his two friends can think of nothing more wonderful than racing down country roads on their motor bikes. However, Grandfather Karl decides that Ole should go to Berlin to work as an apprentice artist making calendars in an agency. He can stay with his cousin Rocco and Rocco’s father, Uncle Manni. Rocco wears a navy uniform and works as a guide near the Spree River. As a country bumpkin, Ole must adjust to sleeping on the couch in close contact with his free-living relatives. (Rocco thinks nothing of shaving private parts in front of an audience and saying things like, “The best time to talk is when the doctor is fishing buckshot out of one’s ass.”) Ole falls for a neighbor girl, Fritzi, who teaches him how to break into locked cars and, also, that love is temporary.

Unfortunately, Grandfather Karl dies, and the relatives must gather for his funeral. This is difficult in that Karl’s sons, brothers Manni and Heinz, haven’t spoken for 20 years, all because they were in love with the same girl: Manuela, the mother of Rocco. She left the picture to go to India years ago. This forced meeting was Karl’s plan all along – an attempt to reunite the family.

The worthy moral of the story is: forgiveness, something we should all take to heart. Jacob Matschenz as Ole is especially refreshing and quite cute, when he finally takes off his motorcycle helmet. My favourite scene takes place at the advertising studio where Ole is fired for a trumped-up reason of homosexuality. His drawings are excellent; in reality the credit goes to artist Thomas Mehner, who deserves special mention. We Hamburg film critics were lucky to have the chance to attend a press showing, considering that the film is produced by Til Schweiger, who, in his own films, e.g., Kleinohrhase, allows no press access before a film opens. (Becky Tan)

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