eIt’s hot in the lignite mining region of Brandenburg. Policemen and criminals are sweating. The ground in the gardens of houses with old wallpaper is as hard as concrete. With its muted colours, the open-air Lusatian Mine and the surrounding area look more rugged than they actually are in the six-part “Lauchhammer” mini-series. Even rain is unblessed. He destroyed the traces of the investigators on the body of Ramona (Jules Hermann), a seventeen-year-old schoolgirl. Near the discovery site on the edge of the coal-mining strip, stormy real estate salesman Florian Langendorf (Arnd Kluwetter) promises to “live by the lake.”
For those smart enough to invest in the future now when the groundwater pumps are shutting down. People talk about climate change, but as they used to talk about the SED party secretary. Not much can be done if it interferes all over the place. It’s better to bend over and let others do it. Visions of the future are rare.
Here you get stuck in addressing the injustice of the GDR and on the bottle like Karl Briegand (Uwe Preuss) or just managing the personnel shortage like the current police force. Some eat their lives, others just want to get away. Few believe in structural and cultural change, and promises are still followed by fraud, which is what many see. The only thing in abundance in the area is crystal meth, sold by alleged people who bought magazine subscriptions, confiscated by police officers like Andre Boschke (Mark Haussmann), and kept in evidence rooms and scattered widely in Lauchhammer like coal which according to local legend , Satan put under the beautiful Lusatia created by God.
Now tourists visit the remnants of the industry
In this six-part series with about twenty roles, Open Miner is a visually stunning co-star (screenplay: Frauke Hunfeld, Silke Zertz). Drone footage of the tattered landscapes shows deserts as clear as the fossilized guts of a once-living natural organism (Felix Novo de Oliveira directs the camera). Huge excavators make their way into the remaining forests like dinosaurs made of steel. The forests in which young climate-keepers from all over the world set up camp at Lauchhammer, which were questioned by the families of former miners, still proud that they kept the whole country warm with their coals. Even if the white embroidered Sorbian outfit on the wedding day turned gray after the soot in the air turned into a symbol like the one in the series. Now tourists are wandering the remnants of industry, marveling at how much nature has been destroyed and hearing tales of the pride of surviving workers. which also plays a role in the intricate episodes now showing on Arte (and in the Arte Media Library), October the 1st (directed by Till Franzen).
“Lauchhammer,” designed to be a thriller, gaining epic character, reaching for mentalities and industrial history, is a generational drama and emancipation history, a concrete description of the state and a cautious vision. Coal is not just an idea, but a reference point, once the basis of life, emotional identification – and at the same time a planet destroyer. The series almost eschews the discussion club gesture, instead relying on fantasy realism.
As Mike Bregan and Annalina Gutknecht, Meisel Maticevic and Odin Johnny are an unlikely pair of detectives whose skills and origins complement each other without personal fanfare. They both came from LKA, from abroad, to Lauchhammer to investigate Ramona’s death. Gottknecht does it right, Briegand grew up in Lauchhammer in a family of police and escaped circumstances. As Gottknecht gains progress in the investigation, Briegand has to take care of his daughter Jackie (Ella Lee), who plans to take action with climate advocates. Ramona’s case is expanding. The relics refer to cover-ups of the GDR era, when corrupt serial killers were allowed to exist only among class enemies.
The fact that East German oppression is fantastically addressed in TV series is not new. Examples, often focusing on family relationships, range from “Weissensee” to “Die Toten von Marnow.” In “Lauchhammer” it is not the family that is told, but the community. The actual end is not just about investigating crimes, but striving for the foundation of a future that matters to everyone.
Lauchhammer – Death in Lusatia8.15 p.m. at Arte and in the media library.