© Concorde Filmverleih GmbH

Der Geschmack von Apfelkernen (The Taste of Apple Seeds)
Germany 2013

Opening 26 Sep 2013

Directed by: Vivian Naefe
Writing credits: Katharina Hagena, Rochus Hahn, Uschi Reich
Principal actors: Hannah Herzsprung, Florian Stetter, Marie Bäumer, Meret Becker, Hildegard Schmahl

Three generations of women have lived in an old farm house surrounded by Boscop and Cox Orange apple trees in fictitious Bootshafen. Now the house is empty; the last owner, Bertha, has died and bequeathed the house to her granddaughter Iris. Iris arrives, inspects the house and memories overflow. She tries on old dresses from her aunts and wears them around the house. Slowly family stories from the 1940s to the present come to light, re-enacted by flashbacks. They appear in a new light to Iris, who must decide whether to accept her inheritance or not. She meets Max, formerly a young sand-box friend, now a strapping young man and a lawyer: He has stayed in the village and oversees the implementation of the will. We immediately sense that young, good-looking Max will be a serious influence on Iris’ decision to stay or leave. In the meantime, we learn about teenaged deaths, unfaithfulness, childish mobbing, and the men who hover in the background.

It helps to set up a family tree, which would look something likes this: Bertha and Hinnerk are married. They have three daughters: Christa, Inga, and Harriet. The two granddaughters are Iris and Rosemarie. To complete the list are Anna (sister of Bertha), Carsten, Peter and Friedrich (who innocently cause repercussions), and childhood friends, siblings Max and Mira. Much symbolism begins right away with the title of the book, literally The Taste of Apple Seeds. Author Katharina Hagena said, “First you chew off a bit of the peeling; then you eat the sweet apple and then the bitter seed, which can also taste like marzipan; young people often eat the seeds.” Aha: Eating the seed recalls childhood.

If this sounds complicated, if not a bit strenuous, you can enjoy each action as it occurs without trying to tie things together, without having to furrow your brow to make connections. Enjoy the excellent acting in its own right. The house and the surroundings are beautiful, filmed at Gut Stendorf in Schleswig-Holstein. Well-known Hannah Herzsprung plays Iris; Thalia Neumann plays young Iris. (Becky Tan)

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