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Willkommen bei den Honeckers (2017)

Frankfurt On The Oder, 1991: Johann Rummel dreams of a career as a tabloid journalist. So far, the tricky would-be reporter has only approached the stars in his job as a waiter. Without a ... See full summary »

Director:

Philipp Leinemann

Writer:

Matthias Pacht
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maximilian Meyer-Bretschneider Maximilian Meyer-Bretschneider ... Johann Rummel
Max Mauff ... Maik Sperrfeld
Cornelia Gröschel ... Jenny Seifert
Martin Brambach ... Erich Honecker
Johanna Gastdorf ... Margot Honecker
Godehard Giese ... Walter Rührig
Inka Friedrich ... Susanne Rummel
Thomas Thieme Thomas Thieme ... Fritz Krozowski
Misel Maticevic ... Jochen Trommler
Uwe Preuss ... Konrad Kiebick
Suzanne von Borsody ... Elke Marbach
Bernd Stegemann Bernd Stegemann ... Karl Eduard von Schnitzler
Bernd Michael Lade Bernd Michael Lade ... Bonzo
Tom Jahn ... Klaus Rummel
Ronald Zehrfeld ... Kollege Trommler
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Storyline

Frankfurt On The Oder, 1991: Johann Rummel dreams of a career as a tabloid journalist. So far, the tricky would-be reporter has only approached the stars in his job as a waiter. Without a high school diploma and professional experience, the chances of getting a coveted trainee ship are slim. Together with his friend Maik, he tries to recommend himself with gossip stories: As soon as a celebrity shows up, he gives the reporter and Maik the paparazzi. However, nothing more than nice memories emerges. His strong will nevertheless made an impression on the star journalist Marbach, who recommended him for her newspaper. The big chance comes from Erich Honecker, of all people, who is supposed to answer for the wall dead. All the media want an interview with him, but the former GDR head of state lets them down. Whoever makes him speak has the lead story of the year. In order to win Honecker's trust, hype is all right: he befriends old SED comrades and appears to found the League of Young ...

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Features Tagesschau (1952) See more »

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An unconvincing result of what could have been a great story
14 October 2017 | by EsselgehSee all my reviews

Based on the true story of 'Bild' journalist Mark Pittelkau, this film tells the story of a young man in post-reunification Eastern Germany, who tries to fulfill his dream of becoming a tabloid reporter by doing a last interview with the overthrown East German leader, Erich Honecker. With no doubt, this would have made a good story for a great and interesting film. But, although containing some good approaches, the result in its entirety is rather unconvincing.

The first hour of the film is almost entirely set in the main characters' Plattenbau neighborhood. This part of the film draws a good picture of the immediate post-GDR years, with both young people and their parents' generation having to deal with the inheritances of the past and the challenges of the present at the same time. However, this picture is not always free of stereotypes, and in some cases this film's main character, Johann Rummel (Maximilian Bretschneider) reminds strongly of a second-class copy of Alex, Daniel Brühl's character in 'Good Bye Lenin', in his mixture of naivety and ever-grinning optimism.

The film's last third finally deals with Johann flying to Chile and meeting the exiled Honeckers. Erich Honecker himself is seen as an old, broken, terminally ill man, who has no other way to deal with the destruction of his life's work than repeating his memorized political phrases over and over again, until finally falling asleep. His wife, Margot Honecker, can be seen as protecting herself and her husband of the entire outside world, which includes a sharp and almost paranoid way of mistrust. While the film manages to present both characters as credible humans instead of caricatures, neither is cast in an entirely convincing way. While especially Martin Brambach definitely tries his best (and the make-up department did so as well), he is clearly too young (and too lanky) to be a convincing Honecker, a dying 80-year-old by the time this film is set.

And finally, while Johann's plan obviously is not met with enthusiasm by his own friends, the film never clearly deals with what should be the main question of this story: Is any reporter entitled to intrude into the privacy of his or her person of interest, with a pack of lies and a hidden tape recorder, even if it might be the most hated person of the entire country? Further, the film leaves no doubt that Johann is not interested at all in the political and historical dimension of the Honeckers, not even in their personal views of the world and their own lives. Nothing counts for him but a great story that would enforce his own dream career. However, the film never clearly seems to doubt that Johann has the right to do this interview, up to the point that the viewer nearly seems to be expected to cheer him for his actions.

I have mentioned 'Good Bye Lenin' before. And when thinking clearly about it, beyond the obvious, there are some deeper coincidences between the two films as well. In both films, the young, naive, but ever-optimistic main character creates an entire pack of lies to recreate communism towards a dying person. However, while Alex in 'Good Bye Lenin' is driven by love, Johann is driven by nothing but selfishness and careerism. A rather sad difference, if you ask me.


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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

3 October 2017 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Der letzte Genosse See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Magic Flight Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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