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New kids on the block (60+) have a thing or two to teach youngsters

New kids on the block (60+) have a thing or two to teach youngsters

A sharp new German comedy with witty dialogue and a spot-on cast, Wir sind die Neuen (“We’re the New Neighbors”) won writer-director Ralf Westhoff the New Director’s Prize at the Munich Film Festival. Anne (Gisela Schneeberger), single and 60 plus but certainly not old, finds herself cast out of her beloved Munich apartment. Unable to find anything she can afford, but damned if she‘ll move to the suburbs, the biologist looks up some of her college roommates to see if they’re up for a recreation of their old communal living situation. She finds one kindred spirit in Johannes (Michael Wittenborn), a lanky eccentric who has spent his legal career defending the poor. Anne and Johannes have less luck with other chums, some of whom still harbor spiteful feelings toward them after 35 years. They finally contact Eddy (Heiner Lauterbach), a bellicose blusterer who charms his way into a desirable city apartment, and soon the three old friends are the new kids on the block. They look forward to reliving their glory days over glasses of wine, while grooving to the soundtrack of Johannes‘ vinyl records.

But they haven’t reckoned with their neighbors, a trio of no-nonsense, business-minded students who require absolute silence in the house in the face of their exams. Outraged by what they perceive as the hedonistic lifestyle of a bunch of old losers, the youngsters wage a mean-spirited battle to get them to behave. Wir sind die Neuen is a welcome twist on traditional tales of generational clash, portraying the funny /sad emotional lives of young people under so much pressure that spontaneity is verboten. Cross-generational compromise, this delightful film suggests, is one survival tactic in the overpriced apartment building that we call life. (Brenda Benthien)

Posted on KinoCritics

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