Summer In Berlin

Summer In Berlin


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is a German comedy, of sorts, following two friends through a summer of various triumphs and tribulations. It has been described as a tragicomedy, and it is certainly not short of drama.

At the heart of the film is the relationship between friends and neighbours Nike and Katrine. Nike's balcony is that of the original title, and it's there that the women spend their evenings drinking until events change things. The first of them is the arrival of Ronald (or Roland, in one of the film's running gags), and his 'relationship' with Nike. Then there are Katrine's problems, which provide the basis for much of the film's drama.

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Comedy is difficult to translate, and while the subtitles do a good job, there isn't the same cultural basis for humour – some things are always funny, and there's definitely sex, scatology, and schadenfreude to be had, but there is often the feeling that something is being missed. The cast are skilled, Inka Friedrich and Nadja Uhl show their range as Katrine and Nike. Andreas Schmidt is charming, convincingly so, as Ronald, a carpet delivery driver with big plans. The supporting cast is strong, and varied, with a good performance from Daniel Redetzki as Katrine's son.

Summer In Berlin is clearly intended to focus at least in part on the issues of the reconstructed Germany, and while it does succeed to some extent it lacks the power, even the subtlety, of films like Goodbye Lenin! and The Lives of Others. It's a fun film to watch, but some of the amusement isn't intentional. If you're interested, you can try to spot the IKEA products scattered through the film, and it would certainly be a somewhat safer prospect to drink along with than Withnail & I.

Summer in Berlin is enjoyable, and well assembled, but the distance in language and setting work against it. “That's life,” says Katrine. “I'll say”, responds Nike; and unfortunately the film as a whole feels just as pat.

Reviewed on: 25 Feb 2007
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Summer In Berlin packshot
Two women struggling to get by in Berlin find their friendship complicated when one of them falls for a trucker.
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Director: Andreas Dresen

Writer: Wolfgang Kohlhaase

Starring: Inka Friedrich, Nadja Uhl, Andreas Schmidt, Stefanie Schönfeld, Vincent Redetzki

Year: 2005

Runtime: 105 minutes

Country: Germany

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If you like this, try:

Goodbye Lenin!