"The Heroes from the Neighborhood" quietly and effectively spices up the sudser form.

A modestly engaging criss-crosser about life, love and large doughnuts in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin, “The Heroes from the Neighborhood” quietly and effectively spices up the sudser form. Pic is less contrived than its busysynopsis, thanks to Yugoslav-born writer-helmer Jovan Arsenic’s smooth, unforced pacing. Engaging fest choice is most suited to tube play.

When a timid sex addict bails on an interview, TV presenter Erika (Nina Hoger) looks out her window and finds Attila (Marc Zwinz), a genial fireman who can eat glass. He’s distraught over having been ditched by ditzy g.f. Sabine (Myriam Schroeder), who’s sleeping with Erika’s husband, Ulf (Christopher Buchholz), and has showbiz ambitions of her own. Attila is subsequently comforted by shy bakery owner Rosine (Eva Loebau); meanwhile, Erika and Ulf’s moody teen, Niko (Josef Mattes), isn’t so puzzled by adult behavior that he can’t join, in too. Thesping is generous and authentic, with Loebau (“Forest for the Trees”) setting a naturalistic tone. Tech credits are scruffy, in keeping with the urban setting. Among those thanked in the closing credits are helmers Jeanine Meerapfel and Rudolf Thome, who excel in this form.

The Heroes From the Neighborhood

Germany

Production

A Heldenfilm production. (International sales: Heldenfilm, Berlin.) Produced by Til Rothmund, Jovan Arsenic. Directed, written by Jovan Arsenic.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Matthias Schellenberg; editor, Nikolai Hartmann; music, Paul Rabiger; production designer, Susanna Cardelli; costume designer, Christian Roehrs. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Aug. 30, 2008. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Eva Loebau, Marc Zwinz, Nina Hoger, Christopher Buchholz, Josef Mattes, Myriam Schroeder.
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