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DOUBLE LIFE (DOPPELLEBEN)

DOUBLE LIFE
photo © Douglas Wolfsperger Filmproduktion

Who is Angela Merkel? And how many Angela Merkels are there out there? Who would have thought that a second “Angie” could be found in the person of a North German housewife? Or that a South German homemaker with a certain similarity to the German chancellor could make a living with her looks?

To what extent can the temporary assumption of another identity define one’s own persona, or even distort it? Wolfsperger has a look behind the sudden success, setbacks, and the comical and tragic moments of appearance and existence.

The central figure of the film is Susanne Knoll from Lübeck, the mother of three daughters who is coincidentally “discovered” at a wedding party. Initially nonplussed by her uncanny resemblance with Angela Merkel, she accepts an agent’s offer to hire on as an Angela Merkel doppelganger, and eventually starts to like her new role. It’s noticeable when she waves to her fans from the “chancellor’s chauffeured car”, holds speeches, makes appearances on party boats, or poses with babies. The woman plagued by depression and inferiority complexes suddenly finds a new lease on life with her new identity and surpasses herself, experiencing a new lightness of being. Her new motto: “You are Angela, you can make it!” She radically changes every aspect of her previous life, leaves her husband, and even attempts, with her newfound and motivating success, a footstep into the world of politics. Pardoxically, however, as a Social Democrat. An Angela Merkel double among the Social Democrats, a situation which leads to a dispute among the local Lübeck Social Democratic Party and amusement among Lübeck’s city parliament.

But Knoll has competition: there’s another Merkel doppelganger near Lake Constance, Marianne Schätzle. Her “double life” began when her son saw a picture of the German chancellor in the newspaper and reacted by saying “mommy, mommy!” Whether she makes an appearance with the Saxon “Bill Clinton” double Lothar Wunderlich or takes part in an East German nostalgic event with “Erich Honecker” – the former nurse is always on tour.

Otherwise, the two women have very little in common. But they are both ambitious and a certain claim bonds them: both want to be the ultimate Angela Merkel double. Is there any jealousy or rivalry between the two? Of course!

But just how long can one exist in the identity of someone else? What does it all mean for one’s own ego to exploit someone else’s fame? Where does imitation end and schizophrenia begin? When all of your friends call you “Angie” and your every step is being watched and observed…

DOUBLE LIFE is a film about two very normal women who happened upon something very unusual and have to learn to deal with the consequences of their own perceptions of themselves, as well as that of others. In the end, they both go in different directions: one of them distances herself from her double life, and the other continues on with determination.
Genre Tragicomedy
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2011
Director Douglas Wolfsperger
Screenplay Douglas Wolfsperger
Cinematography René Dame, Frank Marten Pfeiffer
Cast Susanne Knoll, Lothar Wunderlich, Jochen Florstedt, Marianne Schätzle
Producer Douglas Wolfsperger
Production Company Douglas Wolfsperger Filmproduktion, in co-production with NDR
Length 85 min
Format HD, color, cs
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
With backing from Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, German Federal Film Fund

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