Ballon [Balloon] (2018)

Director: Michael Herbig
Writer: Kit Hopkins, Thilo Röscheisen, Michael Herbig
Cast: Friedrich Mücke, Karoline Schuch, David Kross, Alicia von Rittberg, Thomas Kretschmann, Jonas Holdenrieder, Tilman Döbler
Seen on: 6.10.2018

Peter (Friedrich Mücke) and Doris Strelzyk (Karoline Schuch) live in the GDR with their family, as do Günter (David Kross) and Petra Wenzel (Alicia von Rittberg). They would all like to leave the GDR, but exit is severely limited and they don’t have the right connections to get an exit visa. When they have the idea to fly across the border to West Germany in a home-made hot air balloon, they start the work. But their activities are noted by Seidel (Thomas Kretschmann) whose job it is to hunt down people who try to flee. And he is very good at it.

Ballon is an exciting, tense film that makes the repression in the GDR very tangible. I was surprised to get a film like this from Herbig who I only know as a comedy director – but it was in no way a bad surprise.

The film poster showing balloon silk burning.
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Wickie und die starken Männer [Vicky the Viking] (2009)

Vicky the Viking is the newest movie of German film maker and comedian Michael Bully Herbig, based on the book by Runer Jonsson and the TV show of the same name.

Vicky (Jonas Hämmerle) is the son of Halvar (Waldemar Kobus), chief of a village of Vikings. Halvar is a physical guy and one who measures strength through muscles. Vicky, on the other hand, is very smart but has to prove his father again and again that brains can meet muscles.
When all the children – including Vicky’s girlfriend Ylvi (Mercedes Jadea Diaz) – are kidnapped from their village (except for Vicky himself ), Vicky, his father and the men go out to rescue them.

Herbig put a lot of work into making this this live action movie resemble the animated original as much as possible and he succeeded with that. Unfortunately that also means that he transfered all the problems of the original. [And there are quite a few.] Also, his trademark humour is very much missing. I didn’t laugh as much as I expected.

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