Well acted and told with a lot of empathy ensemble drama about people who involuntarily spend a night in a nursing home.
What a heavy, depressing drama that could have been on ARD! After all, nursing home stories regularly deal with the same somber themes: the operators only care about the money; the staff is overwhelmed and accordingly unfriendly; Sons and daughters have deported their parents and hope to inherit as soon as possible; not to mention infirmity and undignified death.
Death is also a guest in “The air we breathe” (ARD), but apart from that it’s amazing what a joie de vivre the author Julia C. Kaiser and the director Martin Enlen spread. The screenplay, implemented with a lot of empathy, is far from being a comedy; and yet he leaves a cheerful serenity.
“The air we breathe” on ARD: Three couples take center stage
This mainly has to do with the events that the film tells about in the first. Although there are no central characters, three couples come to the fore as the story progresses: Old Mr. Glenski (Gerd Wameling) suffers from the onset of dementia. His daughter Alisa (Bernadette Heerwagen) needs a power of attorney because she has been paying for the home out of her own pocket, but the old man refuses to sign.
Meanwhile, Jürgen (Thomas Loibl), who appears to have suffered all his life from a terrible mother, suffers a panic attack on her deathbed when she suddenly seems to regain consciousness. The director of the home accommodates him overnight in a room that has just become vacant; there he meets Marianna, the daughter (Patrycia Ziolkowska) of the previous resident. And then there is the florist couple Klaus and Sylvia Bronstein (Rainer Bock, Ruth Reinecke): At first glance, she actually still seems very vital, but she decided in favor of the retirement home because she doesn’t want to wither away in front of his eyes, but for him it feels like she left him.
“The air we breathe” (ARD): Clever trick ensures decisive turnaround
Up to this point, “The air that we breathe” on ARD is on the right track, but then a simple and clever trick ensures that people’s existence takes a decisive turn: something is brewing outside. At the beginning of the film, the radio news warned of black ice. When the storm breaks out and the streets are no longer passable, everyone involved is forced to spend the night in the home: the visitors as well as the staff.
|dr Sina Kunz||Neda Rahmanian|
|Claus Bronstein||Rainer Bock|
|Sylvia Bronstein||Ruth Reinecke|
|Marianna Leszek||Patrycia Ziolkowska|
|Jurgen Gmoll||Thomas Loibl|
|Lana Gmoll||Barbara Philip|
|Martin Glenski||Gerd Wameling|
|Alisa Glenski||Bernadette army wagon|
Only then did the clarifying second encounters between father and daughter Glenski and the Bronstein couple arise. Marianna would also have been on her way home long ago. In this way, however, she can open Jürgen’s eyes and heart to the love of the person who will be by his side from now on. Of the many moving moments in the film, the superbly acted scenes with Thomas Loibl and Patrycia Ziolkowska are perhaps the most beautiful. Under different circumstances, they would have what it takes to be a romantic comedy, because Jürgen initially jumps from one blunder to the next.
Drama “The air we breathe” on ARD at a high level of craftsmanship
Given Enlen’s experience, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the drama in the first is also of a high technical standard; the director has shot some of the best “Wilsberg” episodes, along with many other thriller series that are well worth seeing. Last but not least, “The Air We Breathe” impresses with its image design.
“The Air We Breathe”
Wednesday, February 2, 2022, ARD, 8:15 p.m., media library
Although the action takes place almost exclusively in the home – a youth hostel in the Taunus served as the film location – the impression of an intimate play never arises. This is ensured not least by a few trips through the building, during which Enlen’s regular cameraman follows the home manager (Neda Rahmanian), who has a friendly word for everyone, and nurse Martina (Katja Studt) through the building. The two women seem to have infinite patience and inexhaustible generosity; in this respect the film is almost like a fairy tale.
Small observations on the side round off the ARD drama “The Air We Breathe”.
The excellent screenplay of the ARD drama is rounded off by small observations: Martina likes to disappear from time to time to secretly smoke in the boiler room, where she also left a flask; later she will share her last cigarette here with her boss. The rest is the result of Enlen’s careful implementation of the screenplay and his excellent work with the excellently cast large cast, which also includes Katharina Nesytowa (as Alisa’s wife) and Barbara Philipp (as Jürgen’s sister). In view of the beautiful music by Dieter Schleip, the almost inflationary cuddly pop is superfluous. (Tilmann P. Gangloff)