Ulrich Köhler
Ulrich Köhler / Henrike Goetz
Lennie Burmeister / Devid Striesow / Trine Dyrholm / Nicole Gläser / Jörg Malchow
Peter Stockhaus Filmproduktion


19-year-old Paul can’t seem to escape the dreariness of small-town life. Moreover, his decision to do military service only makes his situation worse. Not that he’s proud of his commitment to serve, in fact, his only motivation for joining the army was to spite his left-wing-liberal family and friends who all assumed that he would be a conscientious objector. One day he goes absent without leave. His parents are away on holiday, leaving their bungalow temporarily unoccupied. On his arrival at the family home Paul is surprised to discover that his older brother Max and his girlfriend, Lene, are there too, planning to enjoy a cosy few days together. The trio get along famously and it is not until they are contacted by the military that Max and Lene realise that Paul has deserted.Max persuades his brother to go back to his barracks of his own accord but Paul returns to the bungalow just a few hours later. On a whim, Lene starts to muck about with Max’s younger brother, kissing and cuddling him – with the result that Paul falls instantly in love with Lene and tries to win her over. His attempts are in vain, however, and Max throws him out of the house. Lonely and miserable, Paul turns to his ex-girlfriend, Kerstin, and the two of them develop a hair-brained scheme to run off to Africa.Paul isn’t really serious about the idea,however, and Kerstin’s naive enthusiasm soon begins to irritate him. He breaks free from her abruptly and brusquely. Determined to see Lene again, Paul tricks his brother Max out of the house. Suddenly the military police arrive on the scene and Lene is obliged to play Paul’s partner after all when he bundles her into the car and they drive off together. However, Lena’s anger about being ‘abducted’ soon gives way to pity when she realises that Paul is in fact at the end of his tether. Later, in a hotel room, she sleeps with him. But Paul’s happiness is short-lived...

Festivals & Academy awards and others

Berlin International Film Festival 2002