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Comedy Movies - Liberated Zone

BUY Liberated Zone
Johanna Klante, Florian Lukas, Annet Rennebern
Written and directed by Norbert Baumgarten
German with English Subtitles
Facets Multimedia 2005
91 minutes

Two themes quite popular in German culture and cinema are at the center of Liberated Zone: The first one is soccer and the second the real economic problems of the former GDR. In the small town of Sässlen (35456 inhabitants), four characters plan to improve the town; s finances and their own bank accounts by getting their home soccer team to the national soccer league.Their hopes are pinned on a newly acquired black soccer player, amicably nicknamed Blondi, and a coach from Rumania. At first, everything goes as if life was a fairy tale and then reality bites back.

The story is told by the main character, Sylvia, a lovely, ingenuous blonde who is influenced by her fiancé and her women friends and has a thing for the new black soccer player. But she is not the only one with ambivalent feelings. The new acquired freedom in Liberated Zone is not only that of the free market and entrepreneurship but also of liberated sex. While Sylvia s pubescent brother Benjamin unsuccessfully tries his luck there are many others who enjoy extramarital adventures.

The story is told in a pleasant, funny and light-hearted manner even though it brings up some serious social problems like racism, the persecution of illegal workers, and social indifference.

There is something universal in the story Liberated Zone tells. Just about every small town with economic problems turns to its local sports team, be it football, soccer, or hockey to fulfill dreams of success though perhaps not all its inhabitants make bed-hopping the second most popular sport in town.

This is a pleasant, fun sports comedy that won a few awards in Germany. It was an official selection of the Berlin and Durban international film festivals and won the award for best film and best director at the Seville International Film Festival.

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