When it comes to money you can’t trust anyone. And the grass is always greener on the other side. That seem to be the main themes of ‘Lichter’, a movie directed by Hans-Christian Schmid, a succesful young German director. ‘Lichter’ consists of various episodes, with different characters, all with their own dreams. Each story has to do with the contrasts between Germany and Poland, separated only by the river Oder, and the desire for happiness and fortune. You see a couple of young smugglers, who take a lot of risk importing cigarettes from Poland to Germany, but who have to pay a price. Or an unsuccesful businessman, who tries without much luck to prevent his mattress shop from failure, despite the woman who unselfishly tries to support him. A poor Polish taxidriver, who promises optimistically to earn enough money to buy a nice dress for the communion ceremony of his daughter. And a grouop of people from Ukraine, who want to enter Germany and put their faith in the hands of various people who claim that they can bring them safely across the border. Further you have a German interpreter who wants to help Russian fugitives, and a young architect who hopes to be succesful but experiences the side-effects.

There are many losers in this melancholic movie, who have to pay for their good trust. This is a moving movie about people. People who want to do good and others who want to exploit them. An intelligent movie with a lot of depth and drama. You keep on hoping for good luck for the characters you symphatize with, but in the end they stay behind in the cold. Especially the taxidriver and the Ukranian refugees win your pity, but even they, like all the characters in the film, are unpredictable. There are also many unexpected turns in the film, which is full of absurdity.

A special notice deserves the music: The Notwist created the complete soundtrack, with melancholic music based on piano, strings and minimal electronics, full of tension. I really hope that this movie will be shown outside of Germany, it’s certainly recommended, though you may leave the cinema with a somewhat bitter feeling about the condition humaine.