Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Die Kirche bleibt im Dorf 2 (4½ Stars)

This 2015 film is a sequel to "Die Kirche bleibt im Dorf" ("The church remains in the village"), made in 2012. It continues with the enmity of the inhabitants of the twin villages Oberrieslingen and Unterrieslingen, in particular the families Häberle and Rossbauer. The first film ended on a happy note; romance brought the two families and their villages closer. The second film begins a few years later, and we see that not even love is strong enough to get rid of a feud that's lasted for centuries. The couples have either broken up or they're living in constant distrust of one another.

The village church has been structurally weakened by being moved around in the first film. Collections have been made for church repairs, but the priest has spent all the money on alcohol. Now the worst happens. As a result of heavy rainfall the church falls apart during the Sunday service. There are only slight injuries to the congregation, but the church is beyond repair. The priest rings his bishop to ask for money for a new church, but the answer is No. He's told that the villagers should go to church in Vaihingen instead. The villagers refuse to accept this solution. For them Vaihingen a big city – it has almost 30,000 inhabitants! – so the two warring villages unite to find another solution. They travel to Hamburg to take part in a big band contest that offers a first prize of 50,000 Euros.

The question my readers will be asking is whether it's as good as the first film. It's difficult for me to give a simple answer after only watching it once. I need to watch the two films back to back. The sequel has been criticised for not having anything original, but I don't consider that a problem. People who liked the first film want to see more of the same, and that's what they get. Both films are hilarious.

In case you're wondering where the beautiful town is which is featured in the film, it's Gengenbach, near the French border. It's close enough for me to visit. My son has already been there. The village scenes are filmed in Emmendingen, about 40 kilometers south of Gengenbach. Those are just the filming locations, it's not where the film is set. Oberrieslingen and Unterrieslingen are fictional villages, probably based on Oberriexingen and Unterriexingen, twin villages located close to Vaihingen.

"Die Kirche bleibt im Dorf" has developed into a franchise. Apart from the two films there's a TV series that has run from 2013 to 2018. The series takes place before the events of the first film. The television station has shown itself generous enough to publish all four seasons of the TV series for free viewing on YouTube. This is a link to the first episode. I'll leave it up to my German speaking readers to find the rest.

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