The very German story of rudderless youth in the wake of reunification, Andreas Dresen’s As We Were Dreaming makes for an uninspired and unoriginal adaptation.
Gegen Die Wandby Mark Wilshin
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
Gone the domestic intimacy of Cloud 9 and Halt auf freier Strecke, Andreas Dresen’s adaptation of Clemens Meyer’s novel Als Wir Träumten is a big budget studio flick, recreating the last days of East Germany and Leipzig in the mid-90s stuck somewhere between reunification and rebuilding. Its literary heritage is clear through the larger than life titles interspersed throughout the film (including Murder In Germany, Lottery Fairy and Street Dog) as well as the underlying lack of substance – content instead simply to recreate strands from the novel’s plot. It has all the hallmarks of a typical German film with its pulsating nightclub scenes, street violence, petty crime, its ironic backwards glance towards East Germany and its band of brothers making trouble. But it’s the portrait of a lost generation caught, after childhoods filled with socialist dreams, in a void before a future disappearing out of their grasp. So it’s a shame that Andreas Dresen’s As We Were Dreaming chases down one cliché after another – from the childhood love for ever out of reach to the ‘brother’ who dies of an overdose abandoned by his friends. The script lacks Dresen’s usual subtlety, creating instead a mannered, übercool German film that unfortunately won’t find much resonance beyond its borders.
As We Were Dreaming is now showing at the 65th Berlin Film Festival