Film Screening Thomas Stuber: Kruso

A man standing holding a basket, another one next to him sitting in a natural environment © MDR / UFA Fiction / Lukas Salna

Wed, 27.09.2023

7:00 PM

Goethe-Institut London

Goethe-Kino (Cinema Screening)

On 12th October 2023, the poet and novelist Lutz Seiler, winner of this year's Georg Büchner Prize, will be a guest at the Goethe-Institut. Leading up to this occasion, we are presenting the adaptation of his debut novel Kruso (2014), for which he received the German Book Prize. The novel tells the story of a community of dropouts around the title character Kruso, who tries to live and propagate a life of inner freedom within the GDR on the island of Hiddensee in the Baltic Sea.

Summer 1989. 24-year-old student Ed from Halle goes ashore with other tourists on the island of Hiddensee near Rügen in the Baltic Sea. In the evening, he doesn’t embark on the ship for his return journey like the others and hits the dunes instead. This is dangerous terrain because Hiddensee is a border area of the GDR, and the beach is sharply patrolled by NVA soldiers looking for fugitives from the Republic trying to get to Denmark. But out of nowhere Kruso appears, saving Ed from discovery and offering him a place to sleep at the "Klausner", a popular tourist restaurant. Before he knows it, Ed becomes part of the team running the restaurant and thus of a community that, under the leadership of the charismatic Kruso, has made it its mission to help fugitives. That means, above all, preventing these "castaways" from escaping, which often ends in arrest or drowning. During a carefully organized short stay they are taught how to achieve a state of inner freedom through fellowship and poetry before they are sent back home.

Thomas Stuber, whose film In the Aisles we presented as part of the Goethe-Kino in 2020, adapted Lutz Seiler's award-winning novel Kruso (2014) for German television. While In the Aisles describes the microcosm of a group of supermarket employees shortly after the fall of the Wall in a melancholic, laconic way, Kruso paints a picture of a rather euphoric community, buoyed by sun, beach and poetry, that has carved out a space of intellectual freedom in a repressive system, but does not survive when the GDR borders start opening in the summer of 1989. Hiddensee was known as a destination for drops outs in the GDR. Author Lutz Seiler himself spent some time there in 1989 and worked in a restaurant. His character Kruso, however, is more of an outcast than a drop out, having been brought to the island together with his sister by their father, a Russian general, after the death of their mother. Albrecht Schuch, who won the German Television Award and the Golden Camera 2019 as "Best Actor" for the role, plays him as a dazzling figure oscillating between confident captain, caring friend, mysterious operator, enthusiastic lover of poetry, and lost soul. 

Germany 2018, Farbe, 99 mins. With English subtitles.
Director: Thomas Stuber. With Albrecht Schuch, Jonathan Berlin, Andreas Leupold, Peter Schneider, Amy Benkenstein, Pit Bukowski, Lisa Hrdina, Sophie Lutz

Lutz Seiler in  Conversation with Thomas Meaney, Thursday, 12 October, 7pm.

Book tickets via Eventbrite

Thomas Stuber was born in Leipzig on 31 March 1981. After first experiences in the film industry as intern and being in charge of Script and Continuitey, he started studying directing at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in 2004. He graduated with the successful short film Von Hunden und Pferden (Of Dogs and Horses, 2011), for which he was nominted for the First Steps Awards, won the German Short Film Award as well as the silver medal at the Student Academy Awards® in the Foreign Film category. After his graduation, he directed three episodes of the German TV crime series Großstadtrevier (2014).
Together with his friend, the author Clemens Meyer, Thomas Stuber wrote the screenplay for his second feature film Herbert (A Heavy Heart, 2015) about an aging and worn-out ex-boxer trying to come clear with his past, which premiered at the international film festival in Toronto and won the Silver prize for Best feature film at the German Film Awards 2016. In 2015, he also directed the TV productions Verbrannt, an episode of the TV crime series Tatort, based on the real case of the death in police custody of asylum seeker Oury Jalloh. The same year, he also directed the acclaimed Ein Mann unter Verdacht (A Man Under Suspicion, 2016).
Stuber’s next feature film In den Gängen (In the Aisles, 2018) is based on an award winning screenplay he wrote together with Clemens Meyer in 2015. Starring Franz Rogowski, Sandra Hüller and Peter Kurth, it premiered in the Berlinale competition in February 2018.
Shortly afterwards he directed the TV film Kruso (2018), a film adaptation of Lutz Seiler's book of the same name from 2014, and returning to the long running TV crime series Tatort, he directed the episode Angriff auf Wache 08 (2019), a variation of John Carpenter's classic Assault on Precinct 13 (US 1976). 
For the streaming service Sky, Stuber directed the mystery horror series Hausen (2020), about a janitor who moves into a demon-infested prefabricated building with his son. In 2022 he again adapted a work by Clements Meyer. Die Stillen Trabanten (2022) interweaves three love stories about people of modest backgrounds. (Source: filmportal, Wikipedia)