End of the Haussmann trilogy: "Stasi comedy": Between nostalgia and slapstick

23 years ago, Leander Haussmanm celebrated his first cinema hit with "Sonnenallee".

End of the Haussmann trilogy: "Stasi comedy": Between nostalgia and slapstick

23 years ago, Leander Haussmanm celebrated his first cinema hit with "Sonnenallee". Now, after "NVA", "Stasikomödie" is the last part of his GDR trilogy and with it a somewhat brittle declaration of love to a less glorious and apparently fun time.

Almost a quarter of a century has passed since director Leander Haußmann not only celebrated his first major cinema success with "Sonnenallee", but also launched his GDR trilogy. Six years later - in 2005 to be precise - the second part followed with "NVA", before now - with some Corona delay - the finale of the triple comes to the cinemas under the title "Leander Haußmann's Stasi Comedy".

The focus of the story this time is Ludger Fuchs (Jörg Schüttauf), in the presence of a successful writer and longtime husband of Corinna (Margarita Broich). At the insistence of his family, the former regime opposition member has requested access to his extensive Stasi files. Even the historian Dietrich (Tom Schilling) is interested in the documents he wants to secure for his institute, which documents the resistance in the GDR. But shortly after opening the folder, Ludger, in the presence of Mr. Dietrich and his entire family, stumbles upon a love letter that raises uncomfortable questions and, at least for himself, awakens pleasant memories.

The intimate writing brings us back to the time when young Ludger (David Kross) was spying for the Stasi in Prenzlauer Berg under the direction of Oberleutnant Siemens (Henry Hübchen). Actually, in the early 1980s, he is said to have spotted troublemakers in the so-called LSD district - named after Lychenerstrasse, Schliemannstrasse and Dunckerstrasse - among the bohemian people living there. Together with three chaotic colleagues, he investigates the NEG-DEK - the "negative-decadent scene". But Ludger becomes more and more fascinated by the artists and resisters, including the beautiful Natalie (Deleila Piasko). And so he soon forgets why he is actually here.

Of course, the film not only rightly bears the title "Stasikomödie", but also quite deliberately, even though the contemporary narrative threatens to slip into slapstick at the beginning. Above all, Tom Schilling as a historian with horn-rimmed glasses and a Klemmi attitude seems exaggerated. In the course of the earlier events then told, the decision to start this story makes sense.

Not surprising, because of course the director, who was born in 1959 in what was then East Germany, would leave nothing to chance when it comes to this topic. Especially since the end of the trilogy is said to be the most personal of his films. "It is important to me that everything I have to say has no claim to universal validity," says Haussmann. "That's my view of things. The view of a person who lived there at that time, Leander Haussmann's view. Of course, I'm also an unreliable contemporary witness. I'm allowed to be approaches like this one."

State security is embodied above all by Henry Hübchen as an officer with lousy teeth who, like Tom Schilling's character, threatens to slide into slapstick again and again. A costume ball in honor of Erich Mielke (Bernd Stegemann) sometimes seems silly and is also too long. And the fantastic ending of the film can certainly be discussed.

Actually, it's more the quiet nuances and more subtle gags that make the cliché-riddled film a comedy with depth. And apart from a few outliers, Haussmann does a lot of things right. Ludger, portrayed by Kross with a charming naivety, quickly grows on the viewer's heart. The staging is largely reminiscent of a theatrical performance, which gives the whole thing a special intimacy and closeness to the characters and events.

Not only those who grew up in the GDR are happy about one or the other allusion to the cultural assets of that time. For "Sonnenallee" and "NVA" - or Haussmann fans in general there will be a reunion with well-known faces such as Alexander Scheer, Robert Stadlober, Karsten Speck and of course Detlev Buck as a cult cop.

Special praise also goes to the set design by Lothar Holler, the costume design by Janina Winkelmann, for whom this was the first major job of this kind, and the visual effects by Denis Behnke. All three were nominated for the German Film Prize for their work. Henry Hübchen could also be nominated for "Best Supporting Actor" and competes here with his "Stasikomödie" colleagues Jörg Schüttauf ("Dear Thomas") and Alexander Scheer ("Rabiye Kurnaz against George W. Bush").

"Leander Haussmann's Stasi comedy" will be shown in cinemas from May 19th.


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