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This is a family story that covers thirty years in the life of the Freytag family (narrated by the grandson, Robert). When his grandfather returns from Russia in 1949, he becomes part of the German "economic miracle" by producing garden gnomes. Klaus, Robert's father, wants to become a writer. He marries Gisela who almost immediately gets pregnant with Robert - but the marriage doesn't work. Both parents abandon the child, and Robert goes on living with both pairs of grand parents. While his father belongs to the 1968 generation that rebels against their fathers he falls in love with the neighbor's's daughter Laura. Written by
Oskar Roehler's movie is hard to classify. He wants to tell a story about a family that covers thirty years but for the viewer it's hard to say if it's a drama or a grotesqueness. The movie never finds a balance between them. Roehler's cast contains some of Germany's best actors: Jürgen Vogel, Moritz Bleibtreu, Meret Becker - but the script doesn't allow them to really perform in the best way possible. Instead Vogel has to be the grumpy granddad who hardly shows any feelings. Bleibtreu has to play a one-dimensional idiot who still orders his son to go to bed and drink his milk once he is almost a grown-up. It's only the young actors - Leonard Scheicher and Lisa Smit - whose natural performing skills save the film somehow. I cannot really recommend to watch this movie - if not for the soundtrack that consists of a couple of the best rock and pop songs of the era.
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