Freier Fall (2013) Sinopsis:
Directed by Stephan Lacant. With Hanno Koffler, Max Riemelt, Attila Borlan, Katharina Schüttler. A promising career with the police, a baby on the way — Marc’s life seems to be right on track. Then he meets fellow policeman Kay and during their regular jogs Marc experiences a never-before-felt sense of ease and effortlessness — and what it means to fall in love with another man. Torn between his family and his new feelings for Kay, Marc sees his world careening more and more out of control…
Complete credited cast: Hanno Koffler … Marc Borgmann Max Riemelt … Kay Engel Attila Borlan … Werner Brandt Katharina Schüttler … Bettina Bischoff Stephanie Schönfeld … Claudia Richter Oliver Bröcker … Frank Richter Luis Lamprecht … Wolfgang Borgmann Maren Kroymann … Inge Borgmann Shenja Lacher … Gregor Limpinski Britta Hammelstein … Britt Rebmann Horst Krebs … Bernd Eiden Barbara Bernt … Ärztin Samuel Schnepf … Benno Bischoff Vilmar Bieri … Lothar Bischoff Jonathan Müller … Mann im Club
Description of Freier Fall (2013):
A promising career with the police, a baby on the way — Marc’s life seems to be right on track. Then he meets fellow policeman Kay and during their regular jogs Marc experiences a never-before-felt sense of ease and effortlessness — and what it means to fall in love with another man. Torn between his family and his new feelings for Kay, Marc sees his world careening more and more out of control. Suddenly, his life is in free fall and Marc realizes that try as he may, he can’t make everyone happy. Least of all, himself. Written byEdition Salzgeber
I saw this film as part of the Berlinale 2013 film festival, in the section named Perspektive Deutsches Kino (Perspectives of German film). The venue with 525 seats was fully booked. It was the 2nd screening after a world premiere the day before.The starting situation is interesting and offers many opportunities for unexpected developments. The story line proved very different from the a-priori assumed (by me), more traditional (but boring) process flow, normally is that a path along troubled emotions, via a short tumultuous period leading a double life, and finally a happy end, declared "cured" of the temporary aberration. What this film shows is more complex, hence more interesting, and we were lucky to see the underlying ideas being executed so well.Incomplete list of ingredients: Marc and Bettina expect their first baby and move to a place provided by her parents where there is more room; Marc meets a fellow police office Kay on a training course and discovers gay sex for the first time; Kay lets himself transfer to the same team where Marc works, and they secretly have sex together while disguising their meetings as outdoor training for a physical exam; Marc's wife Bettina asks him whether there is another woman involved, and without a blink Marc replies it is not the case; Kay is picked up in a gay bar by the police, exposing his secret to his fellow policemen; Kay is assaulted by one of his colleagues, but the team leader covers the offender; Marc becomes more and more absent (in the flesh, and in his mind) in the weeks just before the baby is born; and so on. There are many more such ingredients, of which the obvious anti-gay attitude within the police force is an important one throughout.Things get really out of control when Kay openly admits that he is in love with Marc, which he does on two occasions: once among fellow police officers, and a second time against Marc's parents. He implicitly plants the suggestion that Marc is also gay, trying to force a decision where Marc himself is not so certain about. Marc's parents react as could be expected: "We have not raised you like this." Overall, the situation becomes more and more tense, only waiting for a moment that the complicated truth surfaces and gets exposed to the world. Not only the parents but especially the police force shows apparent coping problems with having gay (or assumed gay) people very near them. Still, the situation is not without hope, because a second assault on a suspected gay colleague by the same offender as the previous time, is not covered anymore by the team leader.Throughout the story we observe Marc and his wife Bettina in all different stages of their relationship in trouble. Bettina discovers first that Marc's absence in the weeks before the baby was born, was not due to extra night shifts as he had held out. Some time later she gradually gets to know new facts about Marc and Kay, particularly that there is much more to it than only training together. At first Marc denies everything, but he ultimately cannot maintain his general denial, and admits they had sex together. We are bystanders of the usual process: Bettina packs her things and moves to her parents, Marc breaks up with Kay, Marc makes several attempts to contact Bettina and explain, and so on. Bettina's most important complaint, however, is not the bare fact that he had sex with Kay, but his continuous lying and betrayal. It offers an opening for a happy end, in spite of what happened before. For spoiler's sake I cannot tell more.During the final Q&A we heard a notable remark: "The human interactions in the story are more important than the actual sex, though sex could not be left out. In fact, it is a love story". The latter may be true, but it is not of the feel-good category, and hence does not leave us with the expectation of a standard happy end. Also in the Q&A we heard that the police did not participate in this film at all, and that everything we saw happening on police's premises, was in fact shot within an especially built scenery (read between the lines: the police force still is not done with these issues).All in all, the story is very well told with impeccable casting and acting. In spite of an overload of stereotypes and cliché's, the film seems acceptable for gay and straight viewers alike. It may very well serve to show the thin lines between homo and hetero, being two ways of life not so clear cut as most "normal" persons assume. I think the film could use an extra dose of humor, offering relief from some tense scenes that leave us behind with negative emotions. Besides that, I fear that the implicit message gets stuck in everyone's head that coming-out for one's sexual preferences is dangerous and challenging, has no useful purpose, and creates turmoil that is not easily repaired. I cannot imagine that to be a desired side effect as intended by the film makers.
Freier Fall (2013) Trailer: