Investigating burglary, robbery or murder is a tricky activity, as you know from countless detective novels, films and series. It is exhausting and cumbersome, dealing with annoying innocent citizens, suspects, superiors and Soko people requires maximum concentration. The classic thrillers are as precise and precise in their dialogues as they are sophisticated comedy. In the Eberhofer films, too, it is a particular pleasure to watch the investigative Eberhofer alias Sebastian Bezzel create his thoughts after the novels by Rita Falk, all these little moments in which he first seems speechless, but then: “Des werd ‘ scho again. “
In “Kaiserschmarrndrama”, the seventh film in the Eberhofer saga, Franz initially has a rather personal problem. His loyal (and therefore annoying) colleague Rudi Birkenberger and he had a car accident on the country road, Rudi suffered serious injuries and had to sit in a wheelchair for a while. Then he is – three times you may guess why – released early from the care of the nervous hospital nurses and deported to Franz on his farm. Whether he might have been cured and could walk again, whether this is not just a question of his mentality, that is one of the problems of this film.
Another question is what the new building on the Eberhofer property should do, carried out by a couple of affable Eastern European workers who are cooked for by grandma Eberhofer (Enzi Fuchs) (and who also provide dignified musical accompaniment at a funeral) – a community as one likes to imagine in the reconstruction boom of the 1950s. Only Franz can no longer quite remember who this construction project – a semi-detached house! – actually initiated it.
Susi (Lisa Maria Potthoff), his partner, can explain to him: It is all for their son, and also for the family of Eberhofer’s brother Leopold (Gerhard Wittmann), with whom she has teamed up, and above all it will be of course there is a communal sauna. Only about the white of the tiles, you are not sure whether the Super White or Crystal White or Sensation White should be, that is also a difficult problem in this story.
The spirit of resistance and rebellion is unexpectedly fierce
There is also a professional problem. A dead person is found on a jogging path, killed with a stone. She was the clergyman’s sister, but also: a “leisure slut”. In other words, she attracted customers on the Internet with the greatest openness, chubby and in heat, and then satisfied them virtually. When Franz investigates the dead person’s room and pensively inspects their belongings in front of the camera, which is still on the air, you see a sex toy gliding through the picture like a mysterious underwater creature in an aquarium. Then a customer accidentally logs in for seconds, fat and happy like a sea king.
Franz is immersing himself in a whole new world. Ed Herzog, the director of the Eberhofer saga, was once a student at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB) in Berlin and has always enjoyed following people who try a spontaneous breakout, want to re-shape old relationships, for example in the films “Almost Heaven” or “Sister Heart”, 2005 and 2006, both with Heike Makatsch. That makes the spirit of resistance and rebellion, which also exists in the Eberhofer films, sometimes unexpectedly violent.
Again and again, the film has a dark and desolate, sometimes pathological background, beyond the Bavarian-fluctuating genre moments with regular table-stuff and Franconian rockers. A witness is locked away for no reason and forgotten, when you let him out after days, he looks really miserable. A protester who has grown old swings up again for an action, Eisi Gulp as Papa Eberhofer, in the bitter resistance to Leopold’s house building. A betrayed woman throws the man out of the house, his things end up on the street – all this clutter, really no longer remains of a life?
Another woman, blonde and in a supermini, does not let her husband have a say, he is employed in her boutique. When Franz visits suspicious people for questioning, they crouch opposite him in a sad, fixated manner, forced into their social existence, their loneliness. Franz is also affected by this melancholy. The series lives from Sebastian Bezzel, his leather jacket charm, his Bavarian cool, the mixture of teasing, resignation and sadness. Again and again he is framed slightly offset, moved away from the community of others. Of all the characters in crime fiction, his investigator is arguably the one most in need of redemption.
Kaiserschmarrndrama, 2021 – directed by Ed Herzog. Book: Stefan Betz, Ed Herzog. Based on the novel by Rita Falk. Camera: Stephan Schuh. Editor: Stefan Essl. Music: Martin Probst. With: Sebastian Bezzel, Simon Schwarz, Lisa Maria Potthoff, Enzi Fuchs, Eisi Gulp, Gerhard Wittmann, Sigi Zimmigart, Nora Waldstätten. Constantin, 96 minutes.