“NEUBAU” (“NEW BUILDING”)
Coming to Terms with Life
Markus (Tucké Royale) lives with his two grandmothers Sabine (Monika Zimmering) and Alma (Jalda Rebling) on an Ostrich farm far from the big city life in the Uckermark. He willingly helps them wherever he can but he yearns to leave and start a colorful, more active life in the queer community in Berlin. When Markus falls in love with Duc (Minh Duc Pham), Markus is faced with the question of where and how he would like to shape his future life.
Markus is a trans man whospends the summer jogging to the swimming pond, drinking beer and listening to music. Duc, a television technician, spotted him at the pond but it takes a while for the two men who are watching each other to approach each other. When Alma dies, Markus is faced with the question of whether to stay or go.
“Neubau” directed by Johannes Maria Schmit is set in the northernmost part of the state of Brandenburg and is a post-gay story in which homosexuality and gender identification do not play a primary role. We see urge for self-determination and self-realization and the obligations in conflict with the young man’s ideal future visions. The film is a conciliatory portrait of the main actor and author Tucké Royale’s own past.
In the Uckermark, time moves slowly and stagnation makes for a kind of captivity. Not only Markus feels it, but so do we, the audience. Here is the captivity in the longing to belong and the free development and the queer attitude to life which is part of Berlin is inaccessible. His soul never rests completely and searches for fulfillment. Markus imagination leads him into the colorful life that is missing for him. His love affair with Duc is unspectacular and puts Markus in an awkward position and the decision for Berlin becomes difficult.
Grandma Alma and her friend Sabine have been Markus’ family since childhood. He never met his father and his mother died early and she was never able to find out that her daughter had become a grown son. When Markus visits grandma and Sabine, Sabine needs him more than Alma, who is still half mentally there but drifts away.
When Markus wanders around aimlessly, with a beer bottle in hand, longing for company, he only stands alone in the meadow on the outskirts and see his personal sacrifice. His new friend Duc, who has Vietnamese roots, seems, unlike him, is able to live his idea of home in the provinces.
The film clearly questions whether his new partnership alone can reconcile Markus with the place where he lives in a queer homeland.