Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken?

Germany

Synopsis

It's true that every boy loves some girl, and every girl some boy. However, some love love more than life itself. Does it really exist, the pinnacle of life? Guenther and Paul are convinced that it does: they want to live - to the limit and with no compromises - and they expect the same of love. Together with Guenther's sister Hilde they spend the weekend at a summer house in the country. Paul is fascinated by Hilde and falls in love with her. And at first it seems as though she feels the same about him. But Hilde has many loves. She is secretly dating Hans - Guenther's former lover. With a large group of friends, they have a drunken bohemian party in the garden. When Hans surprisingly turns up, he sets in motion a roller coaster of emotions that soon rages out of control. Drunk on absinthe, music and their lust for life, the four young people are caught in a deadly maelstrom.

Director's Statement

Love and rebellion, the search for happiness, confused emotions, excess and guilt. These are the themes around which this story revolves. A film about youth, late puberty and growing up, a film about the astonishing consequences that sometimes result from our thoughts and our actions. In the case of the Steglitz Student Tragedy it was the death of two teenagers.
The year before last, when I viewed the extensive research on the project collected by X- Filme, I was at first skeptical: The purely historical aspects of the project turned me off; it is difficult enough to create this dose intimacy between characters and story in a "costume film", and I consider this intimacy to be the most important element in movies.
However, the longer I was engaged in the project, the more clearly I was able to see the entirety of its meaning: The desperate rebellion of the youth against the world view of their parents, the actual incomprehension of this grown-up world, and at the same time this insecure and confused sense of the volatile, changing times between the two world wars.
But as well, the egocentricity of our heroes' worldview appeared modern to me, more accurately...even timeless. I suddenly had the feeling that perhaps the twenties were not so dissimilar to our own time, at least as far as the lack of orientation and the radical changing of social values. Therefore, at one point the story became fascinating to me, and to Hendrik as well...and we began to write. We wanted to attempt zo breathe life into these characters without blocking our historical view.
In the summer of 2002 shooting began, and in my memory it rained forever, there being perhaps a total of 4 sunny days. Nevertheless the project became a very nice collaboration; there was a very special atmosphere on the set, a sense of familiarity among the team, with a common goal connecting everyone. Now, finally, with the film finished, everybody must go their own way.
I believe that it became a movie about love, love portrayed through its most contrasting distinctions. Paul loves Hilde, and he loves his thoughts about love. Hilde plays with everybody, but if she does love anybody, it's Hans. Hilde's brother Guenther also loves this Hans, and life...and Hans loves himself...and Elli loves Paul. It's all terribly complicated yet stunningly simple, but it is somehow always so, as it was in my own youth. At the beginning of the film the heroes step out of their normal world and dive into the summer humidity of a stately garden. This garden and the house it belongs to create an almost unreal place out of time — it's a magical place, a paradise. It's Guenther's territory and he sets the rules. Far away from the triviality of normal life and adults, the three, and later all five, can really "taste" life. Everything and anything seems to be possible. With a huge party they celebrate themselves and their youth. But what begins in such a promising way ends in a total chaos of confused emotions as they are all pulled into the "vortex of the heart", with all their thoughts and dreams leading to the terrible consequences of the next day...
If a movie-goer identifies himself with one or another of these heroes; if one can remember his own first love, his own parties, the romantic view of the world so convincing in its absolute faultlessness; if one lives to again feel this indulgent want again, the dire immediacy of those moments, the tormented condition and the magic and the beauty and the pain...if this film creates that result, I would be happy and the movie will have reached its goal.
lt is a true story.

Director's Biography

Achim von Borries was born in 1968 in Munich. From 1989 until 1993 he studied history, politics and philosophy at Berlin's Free University. In 1992 he transferred to the German Academy for Film and Television dffb. In 1994 , Borries shot two short Films, "Die Letzte Sozialistin" and "Mutantenstadl". With the short film "Halberstadt" he won the Special Prize of the Jury and the Student Camera Prize in 1998 at the International Student Film Festival in Munich. In the years 1996 -97 he developed, in collaboration with Hendrik Handloegten, the TV-Series "Boomtown Berlin".
Highly praised was Borrie's impressive feature film "England! " (Egoli Tossell Film AG, 2000), which also was his graduation film project at the Academy. "England! " ran successfully at numerous festivals and was accorded 15 international awards, including two at the German Film Critic 2000 (Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography for Jutta Pohlmann) and various international Audience Awards. Just recently, the German Labor Union ver.di awarded him the Directing Award 2003 (formerly the D.A.G. TV Award in Gold). Together with Hendrik Handloegten, Achim von Borries also worked on the screenplay for "Good Bye, Lenin!"
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Achim von Borries

Written by: Achim von Borries, Hendrik Handloegten

Produced by: Stefan Arndt, Christophe Mazodier, Manuela Stehr

Cinematography: Jutta Pohlmann

Editing: Gergana Voigt , Antje Zynga

Costume Design: Nicole Fischnaller

Make-Up & Hair: Heiko Schmidt, Johanna Hinsch

Original Score: Thomas Feiner , Ingo L. Frenzel

Main Cast: Anna Maria Mühe (Hilde), Thure Lindhardt (Hans), Jana Pallaske (Elli), Daniel Brühl (Paul), August Diehl (Guenther)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2004