BERLIN PLAYGROUNDIt’s been twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and Hans Narva, or Torsten Müller-Fornah according to his passport, is now 40 years of age. A musician and nostalgic anti-capitalist, he is every inch a Berlin institution. He has spent his entire life in East Berlin – the first half under socialism and the second half under capitalism. Although the centre of his world has not changed significantly since birth, he nonetheless now finds himself living in a completely different environment. At the age of 14 Hans was imprisoned for ‘seditious incitement to mutiny’. Now, at forty, after two suspended sentences for driving without a licence, he finds himself once again before a court of law. In an attempt to get to the bottom of his evident problems in dealing with authority, he sets out with the filmmakers on a journey into his past – one that is characterised by a complicated family background, the fall of the Wall, and Berlin’s music scene.
The music on the soundtrack of Hans’ cinematic biography is partly of his own making and aptly reflects each phase of his life. Music is his refuge; it also provides a record of an era. The song “We’re living in a Baksheesh Republic” which was penned by his own band, Herbst in Peking, was to become the anthem of the collapse of Communism. For a while his involvement with the Inchtabokatables helped save his life, and his long-standing collaboration with Jens Friebe still endures today. The Crack-Up Collective was well known in Berlin’s music scene – in spite of the fact that the band has never signed a record deal. Hans spent most of last year with the band Hands-Up Excitement, who helped him kick off his 40th birthday party.
This film provides an insight into the life of a real individualist. It follows Hans through Berlin as he retraces his steps in the East and the West in search of ideals, of a home, and the peaks in between the troughs that make up one’s day-to-day existence in the big city.