Almost a West Berlin companion piece to his first movie, the East-set “Sun Alley” (1999), Leander Haussmann’s sophomore outing “Berlin Blues” is another slyly comical portrait of the denizens of a specific district at a specific time — here, Kreuzberg postal code SO36, a funky district abutting the Wall, in 1989. Film has less of the upbeat, retro appeal of “Sun Alley” and demands a certain familiarity with the city and its lingo, but fest and specialist TV programmers should take a look. Admissions have been a comfortable 650,000 since last fall.
German title is “Herr Lehmann,” name of the central character (charismatically played by Christian Ulmen). He has no ambitions beyond his night job and hanging around with his best buddy, Karl (Detlev Buck, in dry form), and his ball-busting g.f., cook Katrin (Katja Danowski). Funniest of script’s loose collection of incidents is when his middle-class parents (Adam Oest, Margit Bendokat) come to visit and expect to see him as a restaurant manager. Much of the film’s humor is simply the characters’ restricted world, so impervious to change that they hardly notice the Wall is about to fall.