Mini series “German”: a missed opportunity

deutscher poster official

The Schneiders live in the red house, the Pielckes in the blue one on the right. They are neighbors, but politically they separate worlds. The mini series “German” raises questions about talking to dissenters.

The “Deutscher” mini-series focuses on the everyday life of the two neighbors in small towns, who are increasingly distancing themselves.


Berlin The Schneiders live on the left in the red house, the Pielckes on the right in the blue house. The two families built together and help each other, their sons of the same age grew up and became friends. But now living together is under tension. In Berlin, a right-wing national party took over the government with an absolute majority.

Christoph Schneider, the liberal teacher from the Red House (Felix Knopp), is outraged. By contrast, plumber Frank Pielcke from the blue house (Thorsten Merten) hopes that more will finally be done for the Germans.

Even though a party like the AfD is currently far from the absolute majority, in surveys it is ten percent, the example of Hungary shows that such games of thought are not entirely out of thin air. But the four-part “Deutscher” on ZDFneo is not that dystopian and somber. The mini series concentrates on the everyday life of the two neighbors in small towns, who are increasingly distancing themselves.

But although Stefan Rogall (book) explains that he wants to work out motivations and prejudices in a way that is understandable on both sides, the neighborhood relationship is not determined by the normal discussions about the garden fence, but violently disrupted from the outside.

Wings in Rogall’s script

The takeover of power by the right wing in Rogall’s script means that the Turkish-born fellow citizens, previously an integral part of the small town, are suddenly violently attacked. The pharmacist Burak, friend of the Schneiders, is first brutally beaten, then dismissed by the boss. The Oktays restaurant goes up in flames after an arson attack. The burger shop becomes a “schnitzel paradise”. Since Schneider’s son David is friends with the daughter of the Oktays, while Pielcke’s son Marvin joins the arsonists, the attack inevitably divides the two families.

By pulling the neighborhood into a roughly made crime thriller, “Germans” are giving away the chance to deal with the real problem more closely, namely the polarization of the debates. Do I continue to grill with my neighbor if I think he’s a xenophobia?

In the end, “Deutscher” can only convince through acting: Simon Ostermann and Sophie Linnenbaum, who were still students at the Film School Babelsberg at the time of the film, prove that they have experienced actors such as Milena DreiBig and Thorsten Merten (as Pielckes) and Meike Droste and Felix Knopp (as Schneiders) – especially in the scenes where subtle hints and assumptions are still being worked on.

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