Ich und die Anderen / Me and the Others – Berlinale Series review
“I hate my name. Life is not a Wagner opera after all,” says Tristan. “I’ve never looked at your penis, you’ll have to take my word for it,” says his father. “Perverted? What’s wrong with perverted?” asks his mother. “Actually, in order to change the world we have to treat God. And we can get to him through you,” says his therapist. “May I ask you to respect the privacy of our protagonists,” says his taxi driver.
What is the relationship between “I” and “the others”, ego and environment, subject and context? And how would the constellation change if you could define the rules of the game at will? Writer-director David Schalko, who presented M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (M – A City Hunts a Murderer) in the 2019 Berlinale Series, explores these philosophical questions in the six-part miniseries Ich und die Anderen. The result is no sober experiment, but an absurd, tragicomic satire with a brilliant ensemble and razor-sharp dialogue that revels in escalation and affirms yet again that you should be careful what you wish for.
The whole wish is the concept on which each episode is build. The series starts with everyone knowing everything about the protagonist. His wife knows that he thinks another woman when he is pleasuring himself, a woman that is now in touch with him after many years. His colleagues at work know every little mean cmment that he made for them, as do his friends, as does everyone. But at the end of the day, he will select what will be the situation the next day. In the first 4 episodes out of 6 that I was able to watch as part of the Berlinale Series at the 71st Berlinale, we will see him to live days with the wish that “everybody loves him”, or “everybody tells what he thinks”. The result is comedic as is surreal in some cases.
As the series builds up with each episode, we learn something new about our main character, based on his interactions during those weird wish-days. And Tristan himself learns as well, being a slightly different version of himself when each one of those weird days pass. Some of the best German actors and actresses play in this mini-series, that was originally produced for Sky in Germany. The series though, mostly functions as a what-if parody of life, with the actors simply following the radical ideas of the story, without being really able to act. Nevertheless Ich und die Anderen is fun to watch and an easy going series to pass your nights, or night, if you binge watch the episodes.
I will probably watch the last episodes after the end of Berlinale, to have a clearer view.