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The Call of the Toad

2005- kino
Alexander Reschke (late 50s) goes to visit Danzig, the city of his childhood, to study gravestone with erotic sculptures. It is shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the whole of Eastern Europe, including Poland, is in a state of upheaval. At a market on the eve of All Saints Day the art historian encounters a Polish woman, Aleksandra Piatkowska (mid 50s), who is buying chrysanthemums for her parents’ graves. Alexander is impressed by this vigorous woman and would like to buy her flowers, but she will not accept them. Finally, however, she allows him to buy her mushrooms from a stall run by Erna Brakrup (late 70s).
Alexander and Aleksandra go to the cemetery together. He tells her about his childhood in Danzig. The Polish woman was also driven away from her home; she was born in Wilna, Lithuania, and had to flee the Russians. They have dinner together, and the attraction these two feel for each other is obvious. They have both been widowed. Now, as they talk, an idea takes shape: how would it be if they started a foundation that made sure people could be buried in the land of their birth? A ’cemetery of reconciliation‘ for Germans in Danzig and for Poles in Wilna? The following day they set out to find a suitable piece of land for their Cemetery of Reconciliation. 

A few months later their idea has become reality, and Alexander and Aleksandra have become a couple. They have both been active in the meantime: Alexander has raised money from other Germans who were driven out of Danzig, and the two of them have established a foundation with German and Polish board members. The old lady from the market, Erna, in the chair. When the Cemetery of Reconciliation opens in Danzig and the first person is buried there, both Alexander and Aleksandra have tears in their eyes. Though they are moved, they also have to face disappointment in other ways; there seems little support for the idea among the Russians of Wilna. 

It isn‘t long before the directors of the Foundation have their first serious disagreement. Old resentments surface again, the Cemetery of Reconciliation is increasingly marketed as a commercial concept, and Alexander and Aleksandra’s fundamental idea – that the spirit of true reconciliation should be fostered – has been pushed into the background. The non-profit Foundation has become a flourishing business. More and more bodies arrive in Danzig from Germany. It becomes necessary to remove bodies buried years ago. Capitalism vanquishes the altruistic aims. Erna Brakrup resigns from her post, disappointed. And before long Alexander and Aleksandra also announce that they are withdrawing from the project, since so little remains of their initial concept of reconciliation. 

At least the whole episode enabled them to regain their personal freedom. They get married, and the honeymoon takes them to Italy. They are happy. Life can‘t get any better. Then they are both killed in an accident... and buried in a beautiful little cemetery, far from the lands of their birth.

Cast

Mathias Habich, Krystina Janda, u.a.

Team

Director»Robert Glinski

Script»Klaus Richter

Director of Photography»Jacek Petrycki

Editor»Krzysztof Szpetmanski

Sound»Gregor Voigt

Production Designer»Jochen Schumacher

Costume Designer»Bea Gossmann

Hair & Make Up Design»Liliana Galazka

Production Manager»Gregori Winkowski

Line Producer»Hartmut Köhler

Creative Producer»Dr. Ursula Vossen

Co-Producer»Ziegler Film GmbH & Co. KG, Filmcontract Ltd.

Producer»Elke Ried, Regina Ziegler, Henryk Romanowski