Berlinale Bloggers 2023
Look back in love and anger
A fragile childhood, turbulent love and adolescence in a social flashpoint – German films are portraying very different images of the past.
By Philipp Bühler
The seventies, eighties, nineties and the hits of today – it sounds like a bad radio station jingle, but this year’s Berlinale quite effectively signposts you through the decades, and German films are well represented too. Sonja Heiss’s lovely coming-of-age-Film Wann wird es endlich wieder so, wie es nie war (When Will It Be Again Like It Never Was Before; Generation) – incidentally this is also a great Berlinale title that’s always relevant – begins in the 1970s in West Germany. Not everyone grows up in the grounds of a psychiatric hospital like Josse, the young son of a doctor – and like the author, director and award-winning actor Joachim Meyerhoff, who wrote the best-selling novels on which the film is based. But this is normal for the boy in the film, and the perspective on the patients in the film is no less affectionate. Then everything breaks down for completely different reasons. Josse experiences grief, first love and loss – it’s what you might call growing up.
In the Competition category, Emily Atef looks back with a more idyllic gaze in Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen (Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything), a love drama from the summer of German Reunification in 1990. The reference to historical circumstances is marginal, but Atef’s images of an East German rural idyll bathed in light do evoke the dawn of a new era. Less remarkable are the somewhat stereotypical dialogues and comments on the circumstances at the time (“Money rules now, the Deutschmark!”), as well as a few robust sex scenes between 18-year-old Maria and Henner, aged twice that. Desire to do something forbidden, to play around with control and submission, these things touch heavily on taboos.