In October 1989, the part of the West Berlin borough of Kreuzberg called SO 36, had been largely shut off by the Wall from the rest of the city for 28 years. A lethargic sub-culture of ... See full summary »
The Pope is in town and the night of his visit is anything but heavenly for some of Berlin's inhabitants. The down-and-out, the rich and the poor, the polizei, the street kids and taxi ... See full summary »
Polly (20) leaves youth prison determined to make a clean start. She has a clear plan: First, find a job. Second, fall in love. Third, she wants a place of her own so she can finally move ... See full summary »
A tragicomic movie which focuses on two women and their daily struggle for survival during a summer in Berlin. Katrin, a jobless single mom, and Nike, a nurse, live in the same house and ... See full summary »
Juliane's happiness seems perfect. She is head over heals in love and has just begun a new life with August. One morning, however, she wakes up to find that she has been unexplainable ... See full summary »
Life could be just great for bankrobber Keek: His buddy Kalle is doing time for their last coup, while Keek has to retain the loot. Kalle will spend two more years in jail, so Keek is not ... See full summary »
In 1980 the black Falashas in Ethiopia are recognised as genuine Jews. In turn they are secretly carried to Israel. The day before the transport the son of a Jewish mother dies. In his ... See full summary »
'Liegen lernen', which could be translated as learning to lie down, is the story of Helmut, played rather dryly by Fabian Busch, during that period of life when one tries out relationships until one decides what one wants from life. Although the political developments leading up to and after the unification of Germany are kept audibly and visibly as a recurring feature, they are only a backdrop to the tale, and do not form or even affect the plot.
Because of the dryness of Helmut's character, the voice-overs throughout the film are necessary for the viewer to get an insight into his personality and development. Whilst there have been many more interesting lead characters, the realistic handling of the feelings and conflicts of this crucial phase of personality building makes the unfolding of the plot somewhat fascinating.
The same story with identical characters of both sexes could have been told in any city or larger town in any modern country, but at least the changes in East Berlin add an extra deepness to the drama of economic progress, which in the context of this film are kept even more moderate as I personally have experienced in West Germany.
The film is directed by Hendrik Handloegten, but, as in many Rainer Werner Fassbinder films, especially 'Berlin Alexanderplatz', whilst the male roles are convincing, the female roles do not quite seem to fit into the background in which the events take place. They are fun to watch, but simply not realistic enough to be convincing. Britta, played by Susanne Bormann, lights up the screen and enhances the entertainment value even more than Gisela, played by Fritzi Haberlandt, and the others.
The pace is sometimes too slow, and, although the female characters are in some ways too extreme, in other aspects they fail to generate as much contrast as those in 'L'Homme qui aimait les femmes' or even 'Dr T and the Women'. However, this is understandable because this film is not attempting to portray the infinite variety of the female character in modern society, merely following a particular man's life in an important period of his life.
The film is entertaining, but fails to make the most of the dramatic possibilities.
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