|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:
|Approx. 115 min.
|Ages 6 and up
Berlin 1942. It is a dangerous time, especially for Jews. But young Cioma Schönhaus (Louis Hofmann) does not see at all to let the Nazis take away his joy of life. He takes flight and plunges into life together with his good friend Det. With a lot of courage, shrewdness and ingenuity, he makes his way through life in war-torn Berlin. In the process, one talent comes in very handy: Cioma is an ingenious passport forger. This helps many people who are thus able to escape with forged papers. But Cioma increasingly puts himself in danger, especially since his love for Gerda (Luna Wedler) also makes him reckless again and again...
In his autobiographical book "Der Passfälscher" Cioma Schönhaus tells of his everyday life in the Third Reich. Director Maggie Peren was so fascinated by his descriptions of how he forged passports in the underground on the one hand, and enjoyed life in public on the other, that she adapted this story for the screen. Her film, which is also based on many conversations with Cioma Schönhaus, who died in 2015, is not only a portrait of a free spirit filled with joie de vivre, but also a stirring drama about Berlin in the dark times of the Nazi regime.
Louis Hofmann is convincing in the role with a performance that Sascha Schönhaus, Cioma Schönhaus' son, attests succeeds well in characterizing a person who vacillates between self-confident demeanor and youthful shyness, trying to forge relationships in the full tragedy of the situation. Indeed, it is the ease with which Hofmann fulfills the role that carries the film for long stretches. But even in the heavier moments, the actor known from the Netflix hit "Dark" can convince.
As fascinating as the story is and as well acted as the film adaptation is, I personally missed the emotional power that actually underlies the true events. Not that the film left me cold. But I simply expected certain aspects of the story to move me significantly more than the film ultimately managed. I can't pin it down to specific aspects of the production as to why that is. Rather, it is the overall impression that, despite the many positive aspects, simply lacks the final spark to turn a good film into an excellent one that lingers and can evoke deep emotions. But all in all that is still enough for a very clear: Worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp