Since the mid 1980s Detlef Gumm and Hans-Georg Ullrich have followed the inhabitants of Berlin’s Wilmersdorf district with their cameras. Their long-term observational films describe the hopes and dreams of ordinary people. Dryly humorous and sometimes even grotesque, these films are a touching journey through time pervaded by friendship, patience, trust and warmth. Taking these ostensibly normal events, they have turned them into a compelling comédie humaine about health, money and love, fleeting moments of happiness and great misfortune. After a series of long and shorter documentaries comprising almost 35 hours the filmmakers now round off their project with four new feature-length episodes: Bäckerei im Kiez (Baker on the Bread Line) portrays a family of bakers; Feine Leute (Life of Leisure) describes a celebrity lawyer’s rise, fall and new beginning. Finally, Schornsteinfegerglück (Chimney Sweeps) and Vater Mutter Kind (Happy Family) introduce us to locals whose lives reflect contemporary German history – from the latter part of Helmut Kohl’s era, through the political, cultural and economic turmoil of the fall of the Berlin wall, and up to the early twenty-first century.
by Hans-Georg Ullrich, Detlef Gumm