Opening May 19, 2022
Directed by: Leander Haußmann
Writing credits: Leander Haußmann
Principal actors: David Kross, Jörg Schüttauf, Antonia Bill, Margarita Brioch, Deleila Plasko, Henry Kübchen, Detlev Buck, Alexander Scheer, Karsten Speck, Tom Schilling
Ludger Fuchs (Jörg Schüttlauf) is a famous author from former East Germany, whose latest book is The Wandering Cat (Der streuende Kater). His friends, wife, children and grandchildren convince him, as a prominent, popular author, to research detailed notes about himself, that the East German government had collected during his rise to fame. He is proud that so much information required a really thick folder, all about his apartment, his cat, his wife Corinna (Margarita Broich), etc. There is also an intimate letter, obviously not from Corinna. She demands to know exactly who this Natasha is with whom her husband was so “familiar.” There is an argument; Ludger leaves the house and begins to recall his earlier years. Now we flashback to a young Ludger Fuchs, played by David Kross. He works for the Stasi or Staatssicherheit, a well-known entity established to protect former East Germany in the 1980s. The Stasi sends him to Prenzlauer Berg to spy on artists. He becomes familiar with a new world of freedom (a matter of course in the artistic world), as well as the availability to meet women. He forgets that he has been hired as a spy for the government and joins the artists. As a result, the Stasi must collect notes on him.
The film’s title could translate to “A Comedy about the Organization which protects the Government” and anyone with any knowledge of former East Germany before unification in 1989, will enjoy every minute and even be surprised that it’s possible to laugh about those times. Who would have thought that Germans could make fun of themselves? Naturally, understanding the German language helps understand the action and references. We hear typical German sayings such as “Seele an den Teufel verkaufen” (Sell your soul to the devil) or “Schicksal hat Name und Adresse” (Fate has a name and an address) or “Perlen vor die Säue werfen” (Cast pearls before swine or literally: offer something to someone who doesn’t appreciate it). Naturally, this is an excellent opportunity to become familiar with talented German actors (see above, as well as Deleila Piasko as Natalie, Henry Hübchen as a Stasi officer, Detlev Buck as a policeman, Alexander Sheer as a drag queen and the lover of a barkeeper, played by Karsten Speck, not to mention Tom Schilling. All the fun is supported by 14 songs, the most famous being “Gute Nacht Freunde, es wird Zeit für mich zu gehen” (Goodnight, friends; it’s time for me to go) introduced by Reinhard May in 1972. (.)