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As We Were Dreaming

Adapted from the bestseller by Clemens Mayer, in AS WE WERE DREAMING Dresen tells the story of a group of young friends in Leipzig just after the fall of the Wall. The group of youth is driven by something between having fun with their newfound ...


Andreas Dresen is a singular phenomenon in German cinema. Over the years that nice guy with the retro hairstyle has polished a style of filmmaking that makes it seem as though you are watching a documentary instead of feature film. Until now his main actors have been people generally not portrayed in German screen. Dresen’s protagonists are neither rich nor poor, eccentric or broken and they have experiences we can all identify with: daily life, illness, a new love, an affair. Dresen’s films adhere to the familiar, mainly because he often works with the same team. Sometimes one talks about a Dresen film as though one is talking to a friend about an acquaintance. His relationship to the audience is also something familiar. He is “one of us.”
In AS WE WERE DREAMING Andreas Dresen is treading on new terrain. The film is an adaptation of a bestselling novel by Clemens Mayer and tells the story of a group of young friends living in Leipzig in the first years after German reunification. The narrator Dani is the silent and tender type, Rico is the daredevil, who knows no fear or borders, Mark doesn’t seem to come down from of his high, Paul wears glasses and buys Western porn, and Pitbull is a little plain. The group hangs out, does odd jobs, steal from grannies, run an underground techno club, and fight with Neonazis. They party, joyride and appear driven by something between enjoying their new freedom and a sense of chaos and uncertainty. Everything starts in an old movie theatre where Dani finds Mark strung out on heroin. The wild times are almost over but suddenly the projector starts and the recent past is told in episodes. Bold, flashy chapter headings that look like they were taken right out of the tabloid, like “Murder in Germany” and “Streetdogs,” break the narrative as do the flashbacks to their pre-1989 lives.
With AS WE WERE DREAMING Andreas Dresen ventures outside his “comfort zone.” He experiments with foreign material and chronicles a scene he doesn’t know well or understand. Dresen said in an interview at the Berlin Film Festival that he too sometimes finds his films too friendly. His latest film counters this. This is refreshing news but one can’t help but miss the “old Dresen.” The emotions, motivations and relationships in AS WE WERE DREAMING remain colorless. And his female characters in this film are reduced to stereotypes -- and this from a director who developed such wonderful female characters, like Ellen Kukowski (Steffi Kühnert) in HALBE TREPPE.

Hendrike Bake

Translation: Carla MacDougall


Original title: Als wir träumten
Deutschland 2015, 117 min
Language: German
Genre: Drama
Director: Andreas Dresen
Author: Wolfgang Kohlhaase
DOP: Michael Hammon
Distributor: Pandora Filmverleih
Cast: Henning Peker, Dorothea Walda, Pit Bukowski, Peter Schneider, Gerdy Zint, Joel Basman, Ruby O. Fee, Merlin Rose, David Berton
FSK: 12
Release: 26.02.2015




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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