Soliloquies - Come in and Burn out (2008)

German title: Selbstgespräche - Wir müssen reden
Premiere Screening: January 17, 2008 - 29. Max Ophüls Festival, Saarbrücken
International Premiere: February 17, 2008 - 58. Berlin International Film Festival
Opening in Germany: July 31, 2008
Opening in Austria: November 14, 2008
US Premiere: January 19, 2009 - 14. Berlin & Beyond Festival, San Francisco
DVD Release in Germany: February 12, 2009
TV Premiere: August 16, 2009 - 23:30 ; ZDF - Das kleine Fernsehspiel

Date with the press in Cologne on 08/26/2007
l.t.r. Johannes Allmayer, director Andé Erkau, Antje Widdra, Johannes Zirner, Maximilian Brückner

André Erkau's debut feature film "Selbstgespräche" is based on his own experiences of working in a call-center, in order to finance his studies. It is a small film, but it is worth to see it on a big screen. It was co-produced by the German TV network ZDF, so chances were good from the start that it would be shown on TV. The date now is Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 23:30.

Sascha applies for the job

Sascha's (Maximilian Brückner r.) first day on the job, trained by Harms (August Zirner l.)

Maximilian Brückner - Sascha Wegemann 
August Zirner - Richard Harms 
Antje Widdra - Marie Bremer 
Johannes Allmayer - Adrian Becher 
Kirsten Block - Gisela Harms 
Heinz-Werner Kraehkamp - Alfred Becher 
Melanie Vollmer - Gabriele Deutschmann 
Robert Meller - Micha Kowalski 
Mina Tander - Astrid, Sascha's girlfriend
Kilian Schüler - Noah Bremer
Dagmar Sachse - Daggi Wegener
Daniel Drewes - Ralf, Marie's Ex
Rainer Furch - Pedro, dance instructor
Georg Uecker - Hans Peter Riedmann, TV host
Chris Norman - Mr Smokie
Günter Wallraff - Himself
Director and Screenplay: André Erkau
Cinematography: Dirk Morgenstern
Editor: Oliver Grothoff
Music score: Dürbeck & Dohmen
Production design: Ralf Mootz
Costumes: Lore Tesch
Make-up: Heide Haß, Susan Schmidt
Casting: Horst Scheel
Producer: Hans W. Geißendörfer
Creative Producers: Roswitha Ester, Torsten Reglin
Commissioning editor, ZDF: Christian Cloos
Co-produced with ZDF; sponsored by the Film Foundation NRW, the Federal Ministry of Culture and the Committee of Young German film
Filming dates: 31.07. - 03.09.2007
Filming locations: Cologne, and vincity of Cuxhaven

Max-Ophüls-Award 2008 for the film and the Max-Ophüls-Film Score Award for Joachim Dürbeck & Rene Dohmen

Sascha is on his own for the first time

Sascha in the TV studio with Mr Smokie (Chris Norman m.) and host Hans Peter Riedmann (Georg Uecker r.)

The characters do telephone marketing in a call-center, this time it is in Cologne, so the people in this film talk a lot, actually they talk all the time, but they have forgotten how to speak with each other. There is Richard Harms, the team leader who is full of empty phrases, who isn't able to talk with his wife, instead of just talking to her. There is Adrain Becher, who can schmooze everyone into buying everything he is trying to sell over the phone, but in the life outside the call center he isn't able to say anthing  - until the new colleague Sascha coaches him in how to contact Gebriele Deutschmann, one of his female customers, after business hours. There is Marie Bremer, trained architect and single mother, who uses her phone-line to apply for better jobs, and fights the father of her son. And there is Sascha Wegemann, young and handsome, who dreams of becoming the host of a TV-show, but in reality works there as a handy man, and fails terribly when he finally gets a chance for a job in front of the cameras. He considers working in a call-center is making easy money, but pretty fast learns that the reality is harsh. His girlfriend Astrid gets pregnant, but he can't make the decision to commit to a family life.

And then there is the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads: They have to raise their sales rate by five percent within four weeks or else their office will be closed.

Sascha convinces Adrian (Johannes Allmayer r.) to visit Gabriele

She wasn't home that day

Sascha at the casting call for a new home shopping TV-channel, trying to sell a vacuum cleaner

At least the audience gets a good look of Sascha's yummy lower back in the moments prior to this scene. L.: Marie (Antje Widdra)
These characters are like hamsters in a treadmill, confined to small cubicles in a large office hanging on the phone cord like itis their live wire. We know such people working their behinds off to make a living, and so forgetting how to live. The director shows great sympathy for them, none of them is really bad or only good, they all have their moments. They are caught in a web of dreams and promises, and you can't help but wish them all the possible best.

Acting is great, lifelike, only the dialog is sometimes wooden. But on the other hand: Who really speaks in printable sentences? Also, the colour scheme for the characters is way too obvious in my opinion – or who has seen in one office someone who sticks to the bluish tones only, another one to the brownish tones, and another to the greyish ones? But perhaps this effect was wanted by director and designer.
One other thing: It wouldn't have been necessary to have a string of such close close-ups of guest-starring singer Chris Norman (back in the 70ies front man of UK pop band Smokie), still a great voice, but his looks have paid tribute to the years.

Watching the film is definitely not a waste of time, especially on a rainy afternoon (as it was both times when I saw it in summer 2008), and if you want to hear how someone whose native language is Bavarian (Sascha aka Maximilian Brückner) successfully deals with accentless German. And you learn a lot about life and surviving it in current Germany.

German DVD release: February 12, 2009
The bonus material is film's trailer and interviews with writer/director André Erkau, producer Hans W. Geissendörfer, and the actors August Zirner, Johannes Allmayer and Antje Widdra. Also contains trailers for three more films.

- Website in English of production company Geißendörffer Film- & Fernsehproduktion  for "Soliloquies" with information about the film, its production and awards and photos from filming
- Official German website: "Selbstgespräche - Wir müssen reden" with more photos, the trailer and links

Stills photographers: Thomas Kost & Tom Trambow
Backgrund image and movie stills kindly provided by DVD release company EuroVideo

Page created on July 26, 2009 by EFi
to the
German version

back to
gesucht wird : Maximilian Brückner