Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This documentary on the role of alcohol in all levels of German society was made by the husband-and-wife team of Dieter Koster and Hannelore Conradsen, successful at first for their children's films, and then for docus on adult topics, and just before this effort, for an award-winning feature-length film (Berliners on Sunday). Conradsen and Koster do not add commentary or any judgments to what they record, and throughout each sequence, they maintain a healthy respect for the people in front of the camera and the topic at hand. The sad conclusion of their filmed segments is that alcohol abuse is a serious problem in West Berlin. Opening with some comic antics of "happy" drinkers performing for the camera, the attitudes change as people become unaware of how they sound to others, or of their own need for recognition from fellow imbibers in the local biergarten. Various sequences eloquently show how alcohol consumption is taken for granted in any social gathering. An entire boatload of middle-class workers celebrates a little too much on their association's outing and leave tipsy to face another week at work; several drinkers are more than willing to perform for the camera (their usual bar or nightclub exchanges); and drunken customers do a striptease in one bar. Although the documentarians might have improved their final version of this film if it had been edited to a slightly shorter running time, no one can deny the impact their observations make.