Filmmaker Jan Raiber sets off on a search for his own identity. He wants to meet his biological father – an encounter that is long overdue. His quest is one upon which, sooner or later, many a child from a patchwork family may find themselves embarking. But why is this topic so often hushed up?
Jan announces his intentions to his siblings, his parents and his grandparents. He also tells them of his plan to record his search on film. The camera is his rock; it gives him the courage not to eschew painful truths – as so often before. But his brother is shocked to discover that he is only his half-brother; his grandparents are not sure whether his father will be pleased to see him, and his mother refuses to be filmed. Jan stands by the fence outside the house of the man who made him, but daren’t go in. Old nightmares and long-buried memories are rekindled.
A letter from his mother arrives. She tries to explain things but ends up making things more confusing than ever. In order to understand the past, Jan first has to understand what life was like for his mother when she was young: her relationship to her parents, the all-pervasive atmosphere of control and influence, the problems of a young couple in the GDR, and the appearance of a second husband – Jan’s de facto father.
And so, what now? He still hasn’t met his biological father. What should be his next step? Who can he damage? Isn’t it better to leave things as they are? Jan must fight his way through a quagmire of well-meaning advice and embargos in order to get to the bottom of it all. But then his mother decides to support him; for the sake of her son she makes a bid to overcome her fear and face up to her long-repressed past.