Guglhupfgeschwader

Director: Ed Herzog (Germany). Year of Release: 2022

This is the story of the woman who runs the shop which sells lottery tickets. And her son (“Lotto Otto”), who isn’t the brightest bulb in the store and whose fatherhood is disputed. It is also the story of someone who wins the lottery after receiving a ticket as an uninspired birthday present. Except he didn’t really win, as the ticket payment was never properly registered. Which doesn’t stop him buying a flash car and acquiring a canary yellow suit and an irritating beard.

It is a film largely about men – and a three-legged dog. The men are generally incompetent and stupid, but women intrude only occasionally. The main character is shown to be a bad father, although this soon becomes part of his loveable charm. It’s also a film about police corruption, well sort of. It visits a Czech casino full of dodgy mafia types and ends with our group of heroes stuck in a house into which the local police shoot off rounds and rounds of ammunition.

This is the eighth film in a series of so-called “Crimis” set in Niederaltenkirchen in Bavaria and released on pretty much a yearly basis. They all feature a similar cast based around local policeman. Franz Eberhofer. One review says “if you know one, you know them all”. This is the first of the series that I’ve knowingly chanced across and I won’t be rushing back but there is obviously an audience out for this sort of thing. A very large audience.

There are a number of things that need to be said. Firstly that regional comedy can very much be an acquired taste, as it relies on references that people who didn’t grow up in the region don’t get. Secondly, the Bavarian accent is fairly impenetrable, so I’m sure there’s a lot I missed. Which is a bit of a problem in a film whose supporters pay particular attention to its mastery of comic timing. Although, looking at the rest of the film, I doubt that the humour is that sophisticated.

And finally, it’s not a film I was desperate to see. There’s quite a lot of films showing in Berlin that I haven’t seen, but there’s nothing I really need to see. So I chose something which was at the right time, and as near as I could find to where I’d been in town beforehand. Added to this, the film wasn’t much more than an hour and a half, and I wasn’t in the mood for a long and earnest film. And whatever else Guglhupfgeschwader is, it’s neither long nor earnest.

I normally try to make sure my film reviews achieve a certain length, but I really don’t have much else to say. This is a film which the people who get excited about it don’t need me to tell them about it. And if you’re coming to this sort of thing for the first time, your guess is as good as mine. If you like it, you’ll like it. If you don’t, you won’t. Who said that film criticism was difficult?

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