About two years ago, the series "Bad Banks", which was partly filmed in Frankfurt, caused an international sensation. Intelligent, exciting and rousing, the first season immersed itself in the world of the financial industry. A story about power and betrayal, set in the gleaming bank towers of the Main metropolis - that was big television, which will be continued in February with new episodes.
In the first two episodes, which we have already seen, investment banker Jana Liekam (Paula Beer) and her team are drawn to Berlin. But nevertheless Frankfurt still plays a central role in the series. The new episodes were directed by Christian Zübert ("Lammbock", "Dreivierlmond"), who succeeds in providing the story with new impulses - both visually and dramaturgically - while at the same time maintaining the high level of the first season.
The new season takes place six months after the financial crisis that broke out at the end of the first season. Stricter conditions make the business of the merged DEUTSCHE GLOBAL INVEST extremely difficult. The longed-for promotion to the board of directors is a long way off for the new investment boss Christelle Leblanc (Désirée Nosbusch). In order to master the huge challenge of digitization, GLOBAL is setting up an incubator in Berlin, an "incubator" for young FinTechs, who are to be raised and brought to market with the bank's investment.
Jana is to take over the management of a FinTech that focuses on sustainable financial products. But secretly she is pursuing her own agenda - after all, she still has a score to settle with Leblanc. For Jana, the dazzling, turbulent capital will be both an opportunity and a challenge, not least because an old acquaintance is coming back into her life, the charismatic Gabriël Fenger (Barry Atsma)...
Based on the first two hours, it can be said that she has been a great success: The second season is in no way inferior to the previous episodes in terms of dramaturgy and acting. This time the visual realization is particularly fascinating.
Lisa Blumenberg, initiator of "Bad Banks" and producer of the Studio Hamburg subsidiary Letterbox, spoke in an interview with the City of Frankfurt about women in the financial sector, ambivalent figures and the Frankfurt scene:Mrs. Blumenberg, the second season of "Bad Banks" will start in February. Did you count on the great success of the series with critics and audiences?
LISA BLUMENBERG: Of course there are different phases in the development of a series, also setbacks. But I had the feeling very early on that something special could be created. Almost three years ago we were invited to the MIPTV in Cannes as one of ten series from all over the world that were still "Work in Progress". We had just finished shooting. To present the series there at the Grand Palais together with Oliver Kienle, the author, and Christian Schwochow, the director of the first season, and to feel the enthusiastic reaction of the professional audience, that was a first sign of success.
To the characters: The main character Jana Liekam seems inexperienced at the beginning of the series, but turns out to be unscrupulous as the series progresses. What developments will she go through in the coming season?
BlUMENBERG: Of course I don't want to spoil it! But the point of all the characters in "Bad Banks" is: What happens once you've crossed a line? How far are you willing to go? At the same time, all figures, including Jana, have a great ambivalence. It has a great power that can be destructive. But a part of her longs to use her power to build something, something that is positive, that points to the future. This longing becomes even more apparent in the second season.
With Jana Liekam and Christelle Leblanc, two women are at the centre of "Bad Banks", who decisively control the events in a man's world. Why did you choose a female main character and antagonist?
BlUMENBERG: A young female banker in a classic male domain simply results in a more interesting story, greater contrasts and greater conflicts. But I may also reveal that the Leblanc character in the first script version was a man. A classic mentor figure, so to speak. But I always ask myself: What actually happens when you change the genders of the characters? These are often very interesting things with great added value. Jana thus became a kind of alter ego of Christelle Leblanc, a younger version so to speak. At the same time, you get to know a woman in Leblanc who is very successful but still feels the glass ceiling - although she has the competence to do so, she can't get past her male colleagues.
The first season is based on events of the financial crisis of 2008. What current events have been incorporated into the plot of the second season?
BlUMENBERG: The events of 2008 inspired the first season - but above all we wanted to tell what the situation is like ten years after the financial crisis. Can a new crisis still arise with all the regulations that were already in place at that time? The second season, on the other hand, does not refer to an event but to a development: digitisation in the banking sector. The emergence of the FinTech sector, the young founders active in the financial sector, as an alternative or competition to the large traditional banks. With this we also tell a story of a generation conflict: The old financial world against the new.
Christian Zübert, director of the second season, said in an interview that the film world works similar to the financial industry. What do you think about the ?
BlUMENBERG: My impulse to tell stories - especially when you enter such foreign worlds as high finance - is always also: What does that actually have to do with us? What drives the people who work there? When you go deeper, you feel very strongly that it has to do with drives that we all know, that we all know as ambitious people in the film and television world: with recognition, self-esteem, competition. The bottom line is that it is not about money, but about increasing your own value through your work. And that's where the people in the film industry and in the financial industry are similar.
As you say, the financial industry is very strange to many people. However, "Bad Banks" does not stop at explaining complex processes and products from this world. Did you ever have the fear that this might scare the audience away?
BlUMENBERG: Our ambition is to portray this world realistically and authentically. That's why the specialist dialogues are checked and written by experts down to every little formula. It's like a doctor's serial: That's when doctors start throwing technical terms at each other. Each professional group has its own language. As a viewer, you perceive it as part of the world shown. One can dive deeper, but one does not necessarily have to understand it. It's always about what happens to the figures underneath this surface.
Frankfurt is the central setting of "Bad Banks". In your opinion, how does the look of the series fit in with the city of ?
BLUMENBERG: Frankfurt is simply Germany's largest and most important financial centre. What I love about Frankfurt is that you get a real "Manhattan feeling" there. The skyline is simply stunning. The city's architecture is unique in Germany - and of course this has a lot to do with the financial sector.
On Sunday, February 2, the City of Frankfurt, in cooperation with HessenFilm, will host the premiere of the second season of "Bad Banks" in the Paulskirche. In the presence of the main actors and producers, the first episode will be shown at 5 pm. The tickets for the preview are free of charge - if you want to know how Jana Liekam is getting on, you can pick up your ticket - while stocks last - at the Citizens' Advice Centre, Hinter den Lämmchen 6. The citizens' advisory service is open from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On television, the series can be seen on 6 and 7 February on Arte and on 8, 9 and 10 February on ZDF. In addition, the season can be found in the Arte media library from 30 January and in the ZDF media library from 31 January. Furthermore, the second season will be released on DVD and Blu-ray.<You can order the DVD and Blu-ray HERE </strong>>>/a>>>/p>>x>N>/x>>
"Bad Banks" is a production of Letterbox Filmproduktion and Iris Productions in co-production with Real Film Berlin, in co-production with ZDF in cooperation with Arte, supported by Film Fund Luxembourg, German Motion Picture Fund, HessenFilm und Medien, Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg and Creative Europe - Media Programme of the European Union. In the world distribution of Federation Entertainment.</p>