(2010, Ger, 101 min) Dir Heinz Fäberhöck. Cast Karl Markovics, August Diehl, Nina Hoss.
1918. Gerhard Franz Holstein returns home from the front. He left his home a budding economics student and has returned the shell of a man. He sits in the attic of his family’s home day after day now, working on his grand project: he is working on the history of Umber, a country he invented to keep him sane during his time in the trenches. Now , far from saving his mind, it is taking it over instead. Decades pass outside his window and inside Umber takes on ever more a layered history with a national anthem he plays each morning on the trumpet, a flag that hangs on his bedroom wall and paintings and drawings in his own naïve style that illustrate every corner of the world that he has invented where brotherly love fills every corner and peace reigns eternal. Outside the Nazis rise to power and it seems his days of peace are numbered – war returns to Germany and contact with the outside world grows ever more inevitable. Of course there are no happy endings here. Based on the true story of the outside artist whose works now grace the wall of prestigious galleries the world over, Umber Erneut treads carefully on the line between worthiness, whimsy and the sober realities of Germany at the time and mostly gets it right, ably abetted by a strong cast doing what they can to help.