To create the story and to invent the traits, needs, and behavior of the character Huldbrand, actor Johannes May and director Jeffrey Döring had many discussions. Most of them looked more like small talk than real business meetings. But the most inspiring aspect for Huldbrand resulted from the following description of Johannes’s ex-girlfriend’s father:
Ralf, Rolf. I’m not completely sure anymore what my ex-girlfriend’s father’s name is. I still remember her name. And I remember how it smelled in the living room. Tobacco smoke. Fresh and stale. Old leather couches. And my imagination tries to add Kümmerling (a German herbal spirit). Ralf, Rolf, Ralle, Rolli sat on the couch and smoked and stared into the TV. His arms crossed behind his head in sweatpants and a grubby T-shirt. He had a bald head and a crude, proletarian face, which I remember only grimly, but which I always thought at the time to be able to radiate pure joy. Just not in my presence. He thought I’m strange. Just as I thought he was strange.
He was a metalworker, had always been a metalworker since he was sixteen. Always in the same company. During school and after school directly to the factory. In the morning to work very early in boiler suit, and afternoon going home in boiler suit, at home out of the boiler suit into sweatpants on the couch. And that every day. For 40 years and another 20 years.
I did not understand that at the time.
And I do not understand it now. Well, I understand it. I understand this is life. I understand that I have to EAT to survive. I understand that I have to FUCK to breed. I understand that I have to SLEEP to recover. But I still do not understand. It seems too little. There is something else besides CONTINUE. There must be something. I feel that there is more. I see that there is more.
So I’m searching for it and don’t sit like RalfRolfRalleRolli on the couch and watch TV. I’m looking for a far-off horizon … well maybe I do; me, the arrogant pig. I look down at RalRolRaRo in admiration of the simplicity, the frugality, the fog in the brain, the stupidity. Fuck diplomacy. I’m better than Raaaarrrroorarrooooo. I am the elite. I look what’s beyond the telly. Behind it. Sense. Emptiness. Sense against emptiness. Sense is opposite to emptiness. Sense fills emptiness.
I know that. Yes, I’m sure. There is the meaning, I have it. Nearly. Or. Or. Or not? Or what? What happens when I realize there is no … unthinkable. Because to allow thinking about it, means I cannot go on. There’s nothing next.
It is not a new idea. But it’s an idea, a theme that keeps coming up. The red pill, or the blue pill. There is no turning back. Maybe that’s called life crisis. Midlife Crisis. Burn-out syndrome. Sometimes the solution is to buy a Porsche. And sometimes the solution is to stop breathing.