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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Landrauschen

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Germany 2018
Opening July 19, 2018

Directed by: Lisa Miller
Writing credits: Lisa Miller
Principal actors: Kathi Wolf, Nadine Sauter, Heidi Walcher, Volkram Zschiesche.

LandrauschenToni (Kathi Wolf) is young, lives in Berlin and has two university degrees. She has the whole world at her fingertips. Not. After failing a job application and suffering “identity crisis” as well as an empty bank account, she moves back to Bubenhausen to live with her parents in her childhood home in southern Bavaria. Here, too, she misses out on her expected job and ends up writing about village events for the local newspaper. Her old school friend Rosa (Nadine Sauter) never left home. She works in the local church supporting African refugees. The two women renew their friendship, although they seem to be totally different types. Toni is slender, good-looking and ambitious. Rosa is stocky in masculine clothing and has piercing in her lower lip.

It was difficult to find an English translation for the word Landrauschen. Here Land could be “countryside.” But Rauschen?  My colleague said it is something like “idyllic.” It could also be “overwhelming” or, better yet, “ecstatic,” considering the form Rausch which is “ecstasy.” But that moves us over into a world of drugs, which is not the main theme here. Several topics move the plot. First is the village enthusiasm for festivals and parades such as Mardi Gras (very creative costumes) and Fronleichnam (Catholic holiday Feast of Corpus Christi).  They go to a Christopher Street Day festival. Villagers are members of choirs and brass bands; children play the recorder (Blockflöte).  Then there are the narrow prejudiced clichés of a small Catholic town such as dislike of Somalian refugees and drinking beer. People have problems, e.g., Toni’s mother who dictates procedures at home, drinks heavily and is lonely. But they rarely speak openly, but gossip, which they do with a Swabian Bavarian accent. The only reference in English is “fuck the system.” In the end it culminates into the main topic: homosexuality. The pastor says that, “a lesbian should confess her sins.” Rosa says she knows “what the pastor dreams of at night.”  All actors were fine but my favorite was Rudiger Radomski in a small role as policeman; he made me laugh, which was a rare occurrence here. Landrauschen won prizes at the 2018 Max Ophüls Festival in Saarbrücken, including best film and script and showed at the 2018 Berlinale. (Becky T.)

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