Civil war ravages Irina’s country. Soldiers burst into her family’s house, kill her relatives and rape Irina. Traumatised, Irina flees to Berlin where she works illegally as a prostitute. In Berlin she meets Kalle, an unemployed punk, and lets him stay at her apartment. The two fall in love. But their happiness is soon threatened in the extreme when Kalle discovers a dead john in his girlfriend’s bed and commits a desperate deed.
Criminal defence lawyer Noah Leyden takes on the case. Having defended numerous clients during similar trials he considers himself something of a specialist in the pursuit of happiness; he also knows what can happen the moment luck runs out. Events surrounding Irina and Kalle provide him with fresh material with which to ponder his favourite topic …
Doris Dörrie’s film is based on a short story with the same title by Ferdinand von Schirach which appeared in Verbrechen, Schirach’s 2009 volume of stories, all of which were based on fact. Dörrie’s film interprets Schirach’s story as a study of a pair of lovers caught between their tenuous feelings of trust, long lost tenderness and a wretched situation.
by Doris Dörrie
with Alba Rohrwacher, Vinzenz Kiefer, Matthias Brandt, Oliver Nägele
Germany 2011 112’

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