Dhe setting: a typical corner bar on Prenzlauer Berg. That means: It is no longer that typical, because the good old Berlin corner pubs are under high pressure to be displaced and still have to give way to an espresso bar or a vegan snack bar. Just gentrification.
But it still exists in Daniel Brühl’s directorial debut “Next Door”. At ten o’clock in the morning there are only a few guests, a quietly cupping man in the background, a caretaker type at the counter – and Daniel Brühl as a young and successful actor who tries to pass the last hour before his flight to London to a casting.
Actually he just wants to play with his cell phone, but the guy at the counter won’t allow that; this Bruno tries again and again to involve him in a conversation. Daniel only begins to listen when he realizes that Bruno knows a lot about him.
“Do you live in my house?” Asks Daniel in astonishment. He had never noticed Bruno before. “No, you live in mine,” replies Bruno. “I’ve been there a little longer, in the fifth floor of the rear building, right across from you, on the other side of the courtyard. But I don’t have an elevator that only goes up to me. I take the stairs like everyone else. ”
This is more than simple information. This answer speaks of demarcation, bitterness, the awareness of belonging to a different class. We will learn more from Bruno. His father once lived in Daniel’s maisonette and was evicted when a West German investor renovated the house. Bruno was once with the Stasi and lost his job after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now he is responsible for customer complaints at a credit card company. He has access to all data. Also on Daniel’s.
When a stranger knows everything about you
“Next door”, written by Daniel Brühl’s friend Daniel Kehlmann, can be viewed as a horror film in broad daylight: You meet a stranger who knows everything about you and intends to take advantage of this knowledge. Peter Kurth’s Bruno, in his mixture of stoic calm and false joviality, sits there like a redneck in a southern hillbilly pub who has murderous intentions against the unsuspecting tourist whose car broke down.
Peter Kurth seems to have been playing Brunos all the time lately, first the murderous policeman Bruno Wolter in “Babylon Berlin”, then the suicidal forklift driver Bruno in “In den Gänge” and now Bruno from the Secret Annex, who has been keeping an eye on Daniel for a long time.
“Bruno is called a bear, isn’t it?” Kurth suggested in a WELT conversation and pulled out his cell phone. “Yes, there it is:” Comes from Old High German and was originally an epithet that gave the wearer the quality of a bear. “Interviewer:” Absolutely applicable to many of the characters you play. “Kurth:” If you do see, I gladly accept that. “
Daniel (Daniel Brühl) just wants to play on the cell phone and gentrify in peace
Quelle: Reiner Bass
Bruno is dangerous as a bear. His knowledge is his paw. He prepared this meeting for a long time. It is a settlement with the conquerors from the west, with the housing speculators, the gentrifiers. It is “only” a chamber play for two people (plus a few minor characters), but in “next door” is all the East / West explosives that have accumulated since the fall of the Wall, this double experience of freedom / existence being taken away.
Kurth was 32 when the wall came down, an established theater actor, already a father of two children, had to find himself anew. “Something had to change,” he says today. “That you didn’t really agree with the way it changed then is another matter.”
The character Daniel, which Daniel Kehlmann wrote for Daniel Brühl, is not called Daniel for nothing. The actor also lives in Prenzlauer Berg, and of course he flies to London to film or to Barcelona, where he was born. The idea for “next door” comes from the place where he once felt the hostility of the locals in a tapas bar. Brühl is aware that there is a lot of his autobiography in the film Daniel, and he plays that with a good deal of self-irony.
Actually, “Next Door” is a comedy, and one wouldn’t be surprised if it should be played up and down on the stages of the republic in a few years. Of course, she needs these two fantastic actors who can completely reverse the balance of power in the room with a casual remark or a harmless gesture, and a director like Brühl, who works surprisingly safely and economically when he is first directed. “Thanks to Corona,” says Peter Kurth, “we had plenty of time to try. After the first week of rehearsals the lockdown came, after which we could add a second, unplanned week. “
“Next door” connects two strands of recent German history, which are always seen completely separately, although they are closely linked, namely the excesses of the socialist and the capitalist system. It is a parable, told very precisely on the basis of two very concrete biographies in a very concrete place.
“If people get out of our film,” Kurth hopes, “the best thing that can happen would be for them to be at a loss: who is now the winner and who is the loser? Only one thing is very clear to me: Changes have to take place again now. “