Monday, February 8th, 2010 by Matt

Directed by Neele Leana Vollmar

Starring Katharina Schubert, Oliver Stokowski, Nina Monka, Leoni Brill, Tamino Wecker, Axel Prahl
Written by Ruth Toma

View the trailer here

Set in West Berlin during the 1960s, this offbeat German tale is hard to classify by genre. Thought provoking and quirky, it is both amusing and sad in turns. The story centres on a family from East Berlin, the Striesows, who are haunted by the horrors of the past after they relocate to the West in hope of a better life.

The story details Irene’s struggle to trust in the future, her fear of a Russian invasion, World War Three and the shattering of, what seems to her to be, very fragile peaceful times. It is difficult not to have strong feeling for this complex and difficult character, who is both frustrating and charming in turns as she continually fails to lighten the lives of her family.

Told through the eyes of the two young girls, Wasa a beautiful blonde and Ute her impish brunette sister, as they strive to keep their depressive, dramatic mother happy and stop her often uttered phrase “I will not live to be old” from coming true.
Although there are three children in the home with son, Floori, the youngest of the brood, it is the Striesow girls who really shine. Both just primary school age their simple and often comical plans to keep their beloved mother afloat are as endearing as Irenes horrifying thoughts of the death of them all.

The story of a dysfunctional family is nothing new but the very real and not too distant events which have led to this particular situation and the pitch perfect performance of the two young stars really bring this somewhat depressingly themed film to life.