On a midsummer's day, Paul, 16, drops in unannounced at his relatives' house. His uncle and aunt live secluded in the countryside in the east of Germany. The last family meeting was a few months ago when a tragic event had occurred: Paul's father had committed suicide. Now the boy returns to the place that reminds him of the untroubled days of his childhood. Uncle Stefan and Aunt Anna feel obliged to take him in.

Anna isn't happy about Paul's visit. She is busy preparing her son Robert, also aged 16, for his career as a professional pianist. Robert wants to study at the local conservatory and has to practice hard for the entrance examination. Paul, afraid of being sent home again, offers to renovate the dilapidated swimming pool in the garden. Anna can't turn this offer down and lets Paul stay.

Stefan, who awkwardly tries to look after Paul, has to leave unexpectedly on a business trip. This leaves Anna with her pubescent son Robert, erratic Paul and mollycoddled dog Schumann. When she realises that Paul has no trouble keeping himself busy, her initial rejection slowly turns into affection. Encouraged by Anna's growing sympathy, Paul increasingly seeks her company.

As Robert's examination draws nearer, tension between son and mother grows. Anna, being a former professional pianist herself, doesn't want to accept the fast that her highly talented son has outgrown her. She doesn't realise that it's time to let go. She uses Paul as a pawn in her conflict with her son. She gets Paul on her side and takes advantage of his emotional weakness without considering the consequences.

Robert suspiciously observes this and retreats. On the day of the examination, the situation escalates. Robert boycotts the exam and accidentally observes Anna going too far in her game with Paul. For Paul there is now only one future: the one with Anna.

However, Anna realises that she has lost control of her life. Once again, her son Robert has to suffer from her pent-up exasperation.

When Stefan returns from his business trip, Anna tries everything to appease the situation and to restore the speciousness of harmony. She rigidly rejects Paul. Painfully, Paul realises that there is no place for him in this family. He leaves, but not before taking revenge.

Director's Biography

Born in 1972, Matthias spent his childhood in the Netherlands and his youth in Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg (Germany). After his community service (taking care of senior citizens), he studied German and French Literature and Rhetoric in Tübingen, Paris (DAAD scholar-ship) and Hamburg. He worked for the Festival of French Cinema in Tübingen and he organised the film programme at the Heinrich-Heine-Haus in Paris. Master of Arts degree from University of Hamburg with a thesis on the films by Krzysztof Kieslowski. Internships at ARTE and SR (amongst others). Guest student at the German Film and Television Academy (dffb), where he's working on set and taking directing classes as well as participating in the workshop »Storytelling« with Dick Ross. 1998 - 2005 he studied Directing at the Konrad Wolf Academy for Film and Television (HFF) Potsdam-Babelsberg. Workshops by Margarethe von Trotta, Andreas Dresen and Michael Ballhaus (amongst others).

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Matthias Luthardt

Written by: Meike Hauck, Matthias Luthardt

Produced by: Niklas Bäumer, Anke Hartwig

Cinematography: Christian Marohl

Editing: Florian Miosge

Cast: Sebastian Urzendowsky (Paul), Marion Mitterhammer (Anna), Clemens Berg (Robert), Falk Rockstroh (Stefan)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Discovery - Prix Fipresci 2006