14 December 2011 | t_atzmueller
Brilliant satire or humoristic anthropological study? You decide.
Gerhard Polt plays Ferdinand 'Ferdl' Weitel, an archetypical, working-class proletarian who falls for the lure of insurance salesman Herr Von Mehling. Von Mehling cons Weitel into signing up for eight insurances but Weitel realizes too late that the costs would not only eat up his monthly budget but that most insurances don't even apply to him. Having only a few days to cancel the contracts and this being the chaotic time of "Kehraus" (the Bavarian version of carnival), Weitel must now go on an odyssey into the heart of the Insurance business. There he meets characters that can only be found in real life: the petty, disgruntled office workers; lazy, scheming and jealous to the last man (and woman) and the aristocratic, champagne and caviar slurping yet no less petty managers that inhabit the top floors. And there are many the "seemingly" bitter people who inhabit the city of Munich. Von Mehling is able to elude Weitel during office hours, leaving Weitel with the only choice that he'll have to find the insurance salesman in the annual "Kehraus"-party. This party will be for Weitel what the odyssey was to Ulysses: either perish in the straits of Scylla and Kharybdis or win his Penelope (and have those pestering insurances cancelled).
"Fast wie im richtigem Leben" was the name of the much awarded Satire with which Polt started his career – "Almost like in real Life". The word "Almost" was a euphemism. The characters that Polt shows come straight out of life; over-played reflections of characters that will surround you if you happen to live in Munich. "Bürgertum" is the German word for both citizens and blue collar workers; most "Bürger" are proud of being "Bürger" – but it can also be used as an insulting term.
Polt, in corporation with long-term partner, the director Hanns Christian Müller, has assembled a cast that consists of the finest (South)-German humorists, character-actors and comedians: Bruno Jonas, Dieter Hildebrandt, Karl Obermayr, Gisela Schneeberger, Jochen Busse. Hans-Günter Martens, to mention only a few – all cream of the crop.
People not familiar with the "Monaco of the South" might have a difficult time understanding what the joke is all about. As almost all things Polt, this is an insider joke. If you're from the area and have an interest in intellectual satire, chance is that you're a Polt fan already. However, if you plan to visit Munich, you might well view this as a humoristic anthropological study about people who can laugh at themselves, despite of themselves. Hey, there is an Oktoberfest every year and the Hofbräuhaus is open every day; go for the pork knuckles and the white sausages; however, if you're a carnival fan – go to Cologne or Rio de Janeiro instead.
Pure brilliance and one of the finest satires ever produced in Germany – just don't call it Germany when in Bavaria – we are the "Freistaat Bayern"! God bless his royal highness, King Ludwig II from Bavaria! 10 from 10.