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In the wounds and wonders of German change

This land is a queen, says the voice.

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In the wounds and wonders of German change

This land is a queen, says the voice. Created by God. And everything was fine. Would still be good, wouldn't have, the voice also tells about it, the devil is burying the coal under the Lausitz. Because then the excavators came.

They were huge. They looked like the dinosaurs revenge on their demise. And they ate the Lausitz. And there was soot and dirt and dust everywhere. The wedding dress was gray before the bride could say yes, and the icing on the cake before anyone could cut it.

Before each episode of the six-part murder series "Lauchhammer" is told, the voice whispers something about the Sorbian and troubled country, how it was, how it is. After the turning point, after the changes, the cultural, the social, the mentality change.

She talks about the losers, about the new masters who took everything. About the fact that everything will be different now. Because they learned. That doesn't sound like a promise. It sounds like a threat.

It's hot in Lusatia. The colors are poisonous yellow. Milky is the light that comes through the dust that covers everything. You want to shower after every episode (cold is enough, the pictures are hot enough).

Like Death Valley, the traumatized area in front of the gates of Lauchhammer, shattered by excavators, stretches along, the formerly completely sooty town of 14,000 in the south-east of Brandenburg, whose coal once warmed the country and from whose foundries, curiously enough, the tubs in which socialist citizens came cleaned of dust and dirt.

One sees girls in Sorbian costume. they smoke weed. Then a girl is choked. A hand goes limp, falls into the mud. Ramona is dead. She was seventeen. She didn't have a nice life. She is found with two flat stones on her eyes. So it starts with "Lauchhammer".

There is a difference between crime film series set in the former West and those set in the East. Those from the east proudly bear the region in and about which they tell stories in the title. "Erzgebirge Crime", "Usedom Crime", "Stralsund".

The "Spreewald thriller" - at home around the corner from Lauchhammer - set the agenda. To tell stories where the history and the present of the area intersect. Myths and politics, legends and true events. Who dove into the wounds and wonders of change. And in which the landscape was always the presumably underpaid leading actress.

It was always dangerous when it was hot. In the "Spreewald crime thriller" for example. The case was called "murderous heat". And Roeland Wiesnekker, who was born in Zurich, played someone who came to the land of punting boats and married off the most beautiful woman in the village to everyone else. A monstrous tragedy.

The embers over the rivers and the forests caused anger and hatred to boil up, tradition became deadly, murderous old myths mobilized, what was present and what was past could not always be neatly separated. The living met the dead.

It was always like that in the “Spreewald crime story”. And there was always the forest and the water, which didn't care what people did to each other.

In the series of murders in the Erzgebirge, in the Spreewald and on the Baltic Sea, it is particularly about people who come from somewhere or who were somewhere else and come home, which never goes well, because there are unpaid bills, because you are a stranger and yet familiar and despite or precisely because of this, close everyone.

Maik Briegand is one of them. He ran away from home when he was 18. The father was a policeman in Lauchhammer, they say the best there was, Ronnie, the brother also wore the uniform. People like that, it is said, used to be avoided.

Maik is now with the LKA in Cottbus, some comrades blackened his father after the reunification, something happened with a murder that was not allowed and a special commission of the state security, now he is locked up with a lot of alcohol in the prison of his self-pity sometimes magazines. Ronnie makes sleazy deals.

Maik (Mišel Matičević) is tasked with finding Ramona's killer. He knows his way around Lauchhammer. Annalena Gottknecht (Odine Johne) should help him. She trudges – her tablet always under her arm – like an alien through Lusatia and this case, structured to the point of borderline neurotic, correct and gnarled. She is the counter-proposal to the empathetic Maik, who sometimes bends the law in the interests of humanity. They are strangers to each other, they need each other.

The screenplay by Frauke Hunfeld and Silke Zertz is as full as the country is empty, the view is so wide. As if there really was no tomorrow for the disemboweled area and its precarious society (and no second season, which would have been quite possible), they packed everything they dug up with their research excavator into the four and a half hours of the game. Industrial history, society portrait, natural history.

The pride of the forefathers from the mining families in the dirt and soot and coal that a whole country depended on, and the high treason of their grandchildren, who campaign in environmental camps against the continued depletion of the forests. The debates between the generations. The story of those who were left behind and those who left.

The memory of a country in which there weren't allowed to be serial killers, because they only existed in capitalist countries, and if they were up to mischief in Lusatia, they were simply attributed to the Russians. The presence of an area where there is nothing in abundance but crystal meth. Where everyone is traumatized, wounded, hurt, the people, the landscape.

There's almost nothing that doesn't at least touch the edge of the cracks in this six-parter. The incels, the ecos, the Merkel haters. At some point, of course, there will also be a wolf running around in the dead valley. And still it's going well. And goes up.

However, you don't have to stay until the end. If three minutes before the end credits the murderer falls - and it falls really picturesquely - you should leave Lausitz quickly.

Because then comes another voice. This time it could be Luisa Neubauer's. She tells us that we are not all powerless and certainly not victims and that everything will be fine if everyone takes responsibility for yesterday and tomorrow, that we can make mistakes and have to forgive them. You want to throw yourself into the nearest seam.

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