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  • It's the same old story once again... young girl from the middle of nowhere comes to the big city to find her dreamboy. In this case, young Nathalie comes to Berlin (with the wall still standing) to find rock singer Johnny, but to no avail. Quite lost in the subway system she crosses paths with several low-lifes, punks, homeless people, dealers. Bambi, small-time dealer with the golden heart, promises to deliver Johnny ("dead or pudding-shaped"). This is an adaption of a successful musical created back in 1985 by the GRIPS theatre, which especially deals in musicals for a younger audience; a play which has achieved cult status in Germany (it is still played occasionally with part of the original cast). The movie adaption features quite a couple of the original musical cast (including Dieter Landuris, who started a TV career afterwards), but several sequences of the musicals are missing (movie is about one-and-a-quarter hour shorter than the stage version), some of the songs were altered, not always to the better, and director Hauff probably was not quite the right man for the job. Anyway, the movie still delivers some laughs, but the stageplay is much better, as it makes its points more clearly. If you're in Berlin, check out the papers if it is performed...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Linie 1" or "Line 1" is a West German German-language film from 1988, so this one will soon have its 30th anniversary. It runs for 95 minutes approximately and takes place almost entirely in subway trains and stations. And it is a musical. Now you already think how bizarre this sounds, but it is actually working out. It is certainly a unique experience. Musical movies are a rarity in German film and if you hear dubbed versions of "Les Misérables" for example you know exactly why. As good as the singers may be, the language just isn't really suitable for this approach. Or at least not on a screen without the live atmosphere. This is also where "Linie 1" comes from. It is a stage play with lots of music that was performed many times before this film was made and there are still shows about this one today, especially here in Berlin as this musical is a tribute to the city of Berlin with a touch of West Side Story and all kinds of people bumping into each other deep down under the pavement.

    The director and one of the writers here is Reinhard Hauff and he has made many different films in the past 40 years including re-enactments of famous trials and also musicals as we know now. I must say I enjoyed his work here maybe the most from what I have seen so far by him. It is a very unusual work, but this also adds a lot to his charm and it may be one of the reasons why it turned out so nicely. I must admit I cared little about the relationships between the characters and the dramatic tensions in the films, but the performances and singing were very joyful and you could see that the actors had fun. The fact that far from every note was perfect just adds to the charm here. My favorite performance came from a Carey Mulligan look-alike with a nice Berlin accent. The cast includes not too many known names (I myself only know Hildebrandt, Landuris and Krisch), but it does not need to be a summation of big names as, after all, the people portrayed here are people like you and me. Go see it. If you like musicals as much as I do, you certainly will not be disappointed. It's almost a must see for people who love the city of Berlin.