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Today in the first: "To the last drop" – water is there for everyone

The drama, told in rich colors and starring Sebastian Bezzel and Ulrich Tukur, tells the story of a brave mayor who makes a pact with the devil.

The midsummer pictures are flooded with sunlight, the light looks Mediterranean, and the prospects for Lauterbronn are actually more than cheerful. The small town in Württemberg, like the companies, is losing not only jobs but also prospects for young people, but Mayor Martin Sommer (Sebastian Bezzel) has found a solution that promises blooming landscapes, because Lauterbronn has a treasure: the international group PureAqua wants to buy the right to tap an underground spring.

Rainer Gebhardt (Ulrich Tukur), head of the company in Germany, accommodates Sommer in every conceivable way. Everything speaks for a “win/win” situation, as it is called in business jargon: Both sides would benefit. But not only the title, “Until the last drop”, but also the prologue makes it clear that things may not develop so rosy after all: The film begins with a protest action on the market square, during which a farmer pours gasoline on himself and sets himself on fire ; a beacon in the truest sense of the word.

“Up to the last drop” (ARD): Daniel Harrich is again dealing with an explosive topic

Daniel Harrich is one of the few German directors who regularly deal with highly explosive topics in their work. He always manages to explain complicated contexts in an understandable way without simplifying them. His works are equally demanding and gripping feature films: “Meister des Todes” (2015) denounced questionable German arms deliveries to crisis regions, “Gift” (2017) dealt with the multi-billion dollar trade in counterfeit medicines; Most recently, in the political thriller Seed of Terror, he described how Western secret services made Islamist terrorism big.

Water seems comparatively harmless in this context, but anyone who knows the documentary “Bottled Life – Nestlé’s business with water” (2012) about the machinations of the world’s largest food company knows how explosive this subject is. The Swiss film describes how the company spreads everywhere and sells people what they previously got practically for free. In Pakistan and Nigeria, the business of thirst has left the poorest of the poor without drinking water because the water table has dropped and wells have dried up.

„Bis zum letzten Tropfen“ (ARD): Bürgermeister Martin Sommer (Sebastian Bezzel) begrüßt öffentlichkeitswirksam Dr. Rainer Gebhard (Ulrich Tukur), Manager des Getränkeherstellers Pure Aqua, im Ort. Gebhard hat ein lukratives Angebot für die kleine Stadt Lauterbronn angekündigt.


Mayor Martin Sommer (Sebastian Bezzel) welcomes Dr. Rainer Gebhard (Ulrich Tukur), manager of the beverage manufacturer Pure Aqua, in town. Gebhard has announced a lucrative offer for the small town of Lauterbronn.

In Vittel, France, a pipeline has to be built with public funds to supply the population with water. The people in Lauterbronn are also concerned about this, but Sommer can calm them down, because hydrologist Amira König (Neda Rahmaninan) has prepared an expert opinion that even promises the opposite effect: PureAqua would only use deep groundwater, the groundwater would rise. That would also be sorely needed: The summer is hot, ponds and pools have long dried up.

“Up to the last drop” (ARD): dispute over water

Until recently, all of this would have been a long way off from a local point of view, and last year in particular the headlines were not characterized by water shortages, but by floods and inundations; but Germany too must adjust to the fact that the water supply will no longer be a matter of course in the future. Of course, Harrich (script and director) condemns the lousy tricks of those involved and the unholy alliance between the company and politics (represented by Karoline Schuch as an employee of the Ministry of the Environment), but he cleverly shifts the conflict between supporters and opponents to Sommer’s closest environment.

role Actress
Martin Sommer Sebastian Bezel
Ava Summer Hannah Schiller
Julia Roland Caroline Schuch
Bernhard Schultz Michael Roll
Alex Schultz Sebastian Urbanski
dr Rainer Gebhard Ulrich Tucur
Amira King Neda Rahmanian
Police Chief Charlie Michaela May
Juergen Böker Jurgen Hartman
Secretary Lisbeth Daniela Ruedel

In this way, he takes up a contemporary phenomenon that has become virulent at the latest with the corona pandemic: irreconcilable positions destroy friendships and break up families. At first, the widowed mayor has an excellent relationship with his teenage daughter, but the dispute over water tears them apart. Ava (Hannah Schiller) refers to the unscrupulous behavior of PureAqua in other countries and shows solidarity with Bauer Schultz (Michael Roll). The land on which the well is to be built belongs to Sommer, but Schultz has leased it; he and his brother Alex (Sebastian Urbanski) are also part of the family, Ava and Alex are a heart and soul. All the more terrible is the tragedy that finally occurs.

“To the last drop” (ARD): Ulrich Tukur as a wolf in sheep’s clothing

Despite the captivating treatment of the serious subject, Harrich did not refrain from giving the film a sometimes almost cheerful packaging: the moderate Western elements are a lot of fun. In addition to the richly colored image design (Michael Praun), “Up to the last drop” is also and precisely worth seeing because of the ensemble. As a jovial corporate manager, Ulrich Tukur is the ideal choice for a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“To the last drop”

Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 8:15 p.m., ARD, media library

Sebastian Bezzel is a no less good choice as the mayor, who in good faith enters into a pact with the devil, but in the end has to realize that he has also completely failed as a father. Hannah Schiller, who recently impressed as the title actress of the ARD drama “A Foreign Daughter”, is excellent again. The “First” shows the film as part of the program focus “Our Water”. Afterwards (9.45 p.m.) Harrich documents the reality behind the fiction; no wonder he ends the film on a bitter note. (Tilman P. Gangloff)

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