Berlin Film Festival: Comedy and Nuance

     |    Wednesday, der 17. February 2010

Experience has taught me to avoid German comedies like I do all films called “Dumb and Dumber” or which should carry that name. Sure, there might be funny German comedies now, but I wouldn’t know, since I have learned from past experience.

My colleague enjoyed Doris Dörrie’s “Die Friseuse”, but the poster looked too much like “ain’t fat people funny.”

I found a true German comedy in the daily diary of veteran producer Regina Ziegler in the daily newspaper “Der Tagesspiegel”. It starts with “As soon as day breaks, I jump out of bed” and ends “my evening ends deep into the night.” Who could say it better?

Ziegler namechecks everyone who has lavished subsidies upon her as she lavishes the epithet “wonderful” on everybody from the hairdresser at the Kempinski to her husband Wolf Gremm (a less than “wonderful” director in my opinion) to her daughter Tanja. The wonderful Frau Ziegler has a wonderful sense of nuance, which is certainly visible in her work, wonderful, of course, which “promotes artists and art.” Art? Really?

Ziegler can also be critical, as “wonderful” Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick is criticized for not being on time to greet her film’s team. “The actors and I were left waiting, kept in our cars, sweating, on a side street.(…) ” Who’s the star here, Dieter? Frau Ziegler asks herself.

So much self-promotion for a new film. An ad agency might have been more effective, but this column series sure is funnier.

The fine line between the right and wrong tone was also at the center of Lisa Cholodenko’s comedy “The Kids Are All Right” featuring Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as a lesbian couple whose kids, 15 year old son and 18 year old daughter, feel the urge to meet their biological father. The film’s humor derives not from the characters’ stupidity, but from their desire to do and say the right thing and miss just by a hairbreadth.

Read Regina Ziegler’s diary (in German) here

here and here and here.