I.In quite a few families, the puberty of children meets the midlife crisis of the parents. It’s the same with Emilia and Paul Stamm. The oldest daughter will soon be graduating from high school, the youngest still doesn’t really know what sex is. Dad’s bestsellers were a while ago in his writing career, Mommy is an actress, but mainly has jobs as a voice actress. So there is a bit of a gap to the optimum, but what can you expect from life when you are around fifty, when the estrogens are dying, as the daughter snippy explains to the mother, and when the Loveparade latex costumes have been around for a long time lounging around in the closet?
The comedy “It’s just a phase, rabbit” by Florian Gallenberger – based on the very successful book of the same name by Maxim Leo and Jochen Gutsch – tells of how the Stamms try to create clarity for their future with the help of a break in relationships. Emilia meets a young lover, Paul lives on canned ravioli, becomes depressed, but also laughed at by a young teacher. In the book as in the film, the midlife crisis is also called puberty. To be more precise: old age puberty. This phenomenon from the cheerful advisory literature is described in detail here.
A culture of love
The film lives mainly from the two stars. Christiane Paul, however, does not have as many opportunities to develop as Christoph Maria Herbst, who dances through all the embarrassments with virtuosity and at some point breaks into the big sentence: “Did Udo Jürgens shit on everyone’s mind?” for the pop singer only really started at the age of 66, for Paul Stamm it tends to end a lot earlier. Gutsch and Leo’s book serves as a consolation and is a kind of compensation for the many self-decrees that age requires. The film turns it into a romantic comedy of the second order: The great love should be found again where it has always been, but at some point became too natural. Emilia Stamm would like to take a little risk, but initially only means the board game.
By the way, French cinema could also be counted among the potential inspirations in old age. For a long time that stood for a culture of love that cannot be fobbed off with leisurely ironies. So it is a good thing that a film is also coming out this week that can be seen as an answer to “It’s just a phase, rabbit”: “Chambre 212” by Christophe Honoré. The focus is on Maria and Richard. They have been together for twenty years. You have a nice apartment with lots of books, and they probably get along well, at least that is what the first scenes of everyday familiarity suggest. Richard has cooked, he has no idea that Maria had just had sex with a young man named Asdrubal Electorat. Then he reads a few messages on her cell phone, more by chance than spying on her. And with that there is a marriage crisis that the director and screenwriter Christoph Honoré puts at the center of his film.